Gauliter Jason Brodeur, aka Florida State Senator Jason Brodeur, just introduced the “Information Dissemination/ Blogger Registration Bill.” And I don’t know whether laugh, cry or cheer(!?)
As reported by NBC News:
A Republican state senator in Florida has introduced a bill that, if passed, would require bloggers who write about Gov. Ron DeSantis, his Cabinet or state legislators to register with the state.
Sen. Jason Brodeur’s bill, titled “Information Dissemination,” would also require bloggers to disclose who’s paying them for their posts about certain elected officials and how much.
“If a blogger posts to a blog about an elected state officer and receives, or will receive, compensation for that post, the blogger must register” with the appropriate office within five days of the post, the legislation says.
It defines “elected state officer” as “the Governor, the Lieutenant Governor, a Cabinet officer, or any member of the Legislature.”
Failing to register would result in a fine of $25 a day, and the penalty would be capped at $2,500 per posting, NBC affiliate WFLA of Tampa reported.
The bill says the bloggers’ reports to the state “must include” the “individual or entity that compensated the blogger for the blog post, and “the amount of compensation received from the individual or entity.”
The bill defines a blog as “a website or webpage that hosts any blogger and is frequently updated with opinion, commentary, or business content,” but it says the “term does not include the website of a newspaper or other similar publication.”
DeSantis’s office said Friday it was reviewing the bill. “As usual, the governor will consider the merits of a bill in final form if and when it passes the legislature,” said his press secretary, Bryan Griffin.
I have a sneaking suspicion that Herr DeSantis will not consider the bill overreaching. But some other GOP pols think differently
This bill is, in the words of that notable Progressive, former Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich, “insane.”
“The idea that bloggers criticizing a politician should register with the government is insane,” Gingrich wrote on Twitter Sunday. “It is an embarrassment that it is a Republican state legislator in Florida who introduced a bill to that effect. He should withdraw it immediately.”
I guess if I agree with Newt Gingrich on anything, I should not just laugh, I should laugh hysterically.
So, with laughing out of the way, why would I be crying? Well, for starters, the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida has slammed the proposal as “un-American to its core.”
As the ACLU posted: “This is a clear violation of the First Amendment because it strongly discourages bloggers from speaking on politics – one of the most critical types of speech for maintaining a democracy.”
Yes, not only is this bill is clearly unconstitutional (or, maybe not so clear given the current makeup of the U.S. Supreme Court), it imposes incomprehensibly complicated rules and regulations on private citizens by a “big government.” Am I missing something? Aren’t Republicans staunchly against government interference of citizen’s rights? Isn’t that why they won’t support gun regulation which allows each of us, as enshrined in the Second Amendment, “…to to keep and bear Arms…[as active participants in]…A well regulated Militia?” (Sorry, all you “originalists” out there, but I had to refine the Amendment’s words in order to clarify and bring up to modern standards one of most poorly written sentences in the history of, well, sentences. But, I digress).
So, why would I be cheering?
Because before I went beyond the headlines and read the Bill’s details, I had hoped that if I didn’t register and continued publishing commentary about Florida state officials, I’d be fined, wouldn’t pay the fine, and be hauled off to a DeSantis gulag (Yes, I know I’m mixing my dictators here but you get the point.) awaiting trial on an infinitely bigger platform than this lowly blog allows.
In fact, I was so thrilled that I started searching my Around the Block archives to gather all my posts about DeSantis and his un-merry crew in the hopes that the law would be imposed retroactively. (35 posts since 2020.)
But then I read a clause in the bill which I had overlooked. And I was back to crying.
To qualify for and break the law, the blogger must be paid!
286.31 Blogger registration and reporting.
- As used in this section,:
- “Blog” means a website or webpage that hosts any blogger and is frequently updated with opinion, commentary, or business content. The term does not include the website of a newspaper or other similar publication. (Check!)
- “Blogger” means any person as defined in s. 1.01(3) that submits a blog post to a blog which is subsequently published. (Check!)
- “Blog post” is an individual webpage on a blog which contains an article, a story, or a series of stories. (Check!)
- “Compensation” includes anything of value provided to a blogger in exchange for a blog post or series of blog posts. If not provided in currency, it must be the fair-market value of the item or service exchanged. (Oops!)
As you might not be aware, I am not paid for my posts. As such, unless I can argue that the many, many positive comments I receive after publication of a post, while not currency, might be considered “fair-market value of the item or service exchanged,” my posts, past and present, won’t break the law.
Since arguing that reader comments would not qualify as “fair-market value” in a court of law (but what a great “Law and Order” episode it would make), I’m asking you, dear readers that if you would like to join in my crusade against the DeSantis gestapo (or KGB – depending on who your favorite dictator is) you might consider depositing any $ sum in my Around the Block trust account: Account number 1234567890/Routing number 987654321. Unlike in Brodeur’s bill, where the fines will go to either the Legislative Lobbyist Registration Trust Fund, the Executive Branch Lobby Registration Fund or, both, your contributions to the Around the Block Trust will allow for not only the continued great opinions you relish, but to my potential incarceration and bigger pulpit!
(Yes, in Brodeur’s bill the fines will go to pay lobbyists! And in a trust! Like you can trust lobbyists.)
Let me close with this. While Trump is still leading in most recent GOP presidential polls, DeSantis is second in every one. Now no one wants to see a repeat of a Trump presidency. But if Trump stumbles (like if he goes to prison), a DeSantis presidency is a distinct possibility. So, to all my California friends who will use this bill as yet another example of the error of my ways in moving to sunny Florida, all I can say is, “IT CAN HAPPEN TO YOU!”
8 thoughts on “Herr DeSantis and his Reichstag, (er Legislature) and ministraten, (ur toadies), are at it again!”
I had two solutions to the bill. Write only about fictitious people, NEVER using a real name (Duh’Santis, Flori’Duh! e.g.) or not accepting any payments. (Aside from Substack where you almost gotta pay to comment, who pays bloggers?)
Or the best solution of all: live in Canada like I do. Ain’t no way his brownshirts are ever gonna find me up here! Even if I give them directions!
You don’t think I haven’t thought about moving to Canada? At an election party in 2004 (Bush v. Kerry) I distributed copies of “O Canada” to the group so that we could begin the immigration process in the inevitable event of a Bush re-election. In a post in 2020 about Canada and Covid, I referenced that election-night party as well as the plea by a Cape Breton disc jockey who, after Trump’s surprise victory, as he implored dislocated, Trump-horrified Americans to move to his island. At the time I discovered it was not that easy. As I quoted Andrew Griffith, a former director general of the citizenship and multiculturalism branch of Canada’s immigration department in that post, “most of those suggesting they would leave because of Mr. Trump would not qualify as refugees and would have to go through a system that rates them based on factors such as education and job skills. It’s not an automatic process despite the Twitter posts saying ‘You’re all welcome here.’ Well, you’re not all welcome.” Maybe time to rethink the situation. https://around-the-block.com/2020/11/19/theres-no-place-like-home/
I admit, Canadian immigration is a curse written mostly by Conservative politicians who felt too many immigrants coming to Canada were likely to be Liberal voters. (Conservative = Republican, Liberal = Democrats, with the NDP unrepresented in the US.)
Like Biden not firing Trump appointees, the Liberals never bothered to re-write the immigration laws. I wish I could apologize for that, but being non-political up here I cannot affect what politicians do.
Having said that we do take politixal refugees here, so the best way tp get in is to say uou are persecuted for not being a MAGAt! Living in Flori’dah they will have to believe you.
Another hit TED, and is the wire info a real request, cuz we would respond.
1933 Germany and the politicians that do not see this slippery slope of historical events should be publicly embarrassed for their lack of knowledge and interest in world passages of time.
It is bloggers, editorial writers and informed citizens that form the bulwark against the tyrannical interests of the power grabbing elitists.
You are, my friend, a pivotal bell weather fixture in the rising and stormy seas that are what we can call Florida to be.
Can I just send money!! You know we don’t trust sending money through the wires. I promise to visit you