Bill Says People Blogging About Ron DeSantis Must Register With State

  • A Florida senator filed a bill mandating that anyone blogging about DeSantis must register with the state.
  • S.B. 1316 mandates that bloggers must register within five days of their first post.
  • The proposed legislation has not been put to a vote yet, and it’s unclear if DeSantis supports it.

A new bill introduced in Florida would require any blogger who writes about Gov. Ron DeSantis to register with the state. 

The bill was introduced in the Florida Senate on February 28 by GOP lawmaker Jason Brodeur. S.B. 1316 would require any blogger who writes about DeSantis — and is paid for their work — to register with the state ethics commission or the Florida Office of Legislative Services. They must do so within five days of their first post.

Bloggers would also be required to register with the state if they write anything about Florida’s lieutenant governor, a cabinet officer, or any member of the Florida legislature, per the bill.

S.B. 1316 would mandate that bloggers submit monthly reports about their work if they write about elected officials, including how much payment they received for their articles, rounded to the nearest $10, and the name of the “individual or entity” who paid them.

Writers who do not file their reports on time should be fined $25 a day, the bill suggests. A blogger can be fined a maximum of $2,500, the bill reads. 

Brodeur’s suggested law does not appear to apply to news organizations but instead would target individual bloggers who write about DeSantis and other officials.

The proposed legislation has not yet been put to a vote. It’s unclear if DeSantis personally supports Brodeur’s bill.

Brodeur told the website Florida Politics that he believes “paid bloggers are lobbyists who write instead of talk.” 

Ron Kuby, a lawyer in New York specializing in free speech, told NBC News that Brodeur’s proposal would violate the First Amendment.

“We don’t register journalists. People who write cannot be forced to register,” Kuby told NBC News.

The suggestion that more restrictions be placed on people writing about DeSantis stands in direct contrast to the governor’s messaging that Florida should have as much freedom as possible. In July, Insider saw a fundraising page from DeSantis where he was selling a gold “Freedom Team Membership Card.” 

Representatives for Brodeur and DeSantis did not immediately respond to Insider’s requests for comment.

The ACLU of Florida, the First Amendment Foundation, and the Marion B. Brechner First Amendment Project at the University of Florida did not immediately respond to Insider’s requests for comment.

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