Florida state senator Jason Brodeur, a Republican, has filed a new measure that would allow tracking "bloggers" who write about Governor Ron DeSantis, Cabinet members, and Florida lawmakers to register with the state.
Are You a "Blogger"?
Bloggers who accept payment for their writings would need to register with the Florida Office of Legislative Services or the Commission on Ethics, according to Senate Bill 1316. The restriction would not, however, apply to news websites or other websites of a similar nature.
However, the word blogger is loosely defined in the bill. DeSantis may seize control of the public narrative and keep track of everyone who writes about him. He already showed us what happens when big corporation speaks their mind in Florida.
Under the bill, a blog is "a website or webpage that hosts any blogger and is frequently updated with opinion, commentary, or business content," and a blog post is "an individual webpage on a blog which contains an article, a story, or a series of stories."
Is tweeting about DeSantis now a blogging activity punishable by the law? Twitter is officially a microblogging service.
What about your LinkedIn article? Or even NewsBreak?
Are these all "blogs" DeSantis wants to police?
The Murder of the Free Speech
According to the "Information Dissemination" bill, bloggers who write on elected state officials and earn payment for their posts must register with the relevant authority within five days after the first 164 references of such officials.
If the blogger publishes future content concerning elected state officials, they must provide monthly reports. The reports shall include information about each article's publication, including where, when, and by who it was published. There may be consequences if accounts are not filed.
The proposed law covers elected state officers, like "the Governor, the Lieutenant Governor, a Cabinet officer, or any member of the Legislature."
The bill's critics have expressed concerns about how it would affect free expression and might intimidate bloggers who follow state elected officials. Supporters of the legislation contend that it will increase accountability and transparency in the internet space.
Whether the proposed bill will become law is a matter of speculation.
But what happened to golden Republican ideals of less government, less regulation, and more freedom? Or was it all just a fairytale?
What do you think about freedom of speech in Florida?
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