- If passed, S.B. 1316 would require all bloggers writing about DeSantis to register with the state.
- Two organizations told Insider the proposed legislation is a clear violation of the First Amendment.
- “This bill is un-American to its core,” a representative for ACLU’s Florida chapter said.
A Florida lawmaker has introduced a bill that would require all bloggers who write about Gov. Ron DeSantis to register with the state or be fined. Organizations like the ACLU tell Insider that the proposed law violates the right to free speech.
A representative for the American Civil Liberties Union’s Florida chapter told Insider the bill, S.B. 1316, is “un-American to its core.”
“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,” the ACLU representative told Insider.
The ACLU’s representative added that the First Amendment “protects our right to learn and read free from viewpoint-based censorship.”
“The US Constitution demands that we transcend such callous political agendas and instead promote the value of freedom of expression,” the spokesperson added.
A spokesperson for the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression, a nonprofit civil liberties group, also told Insider the bill is “an affront” to the First Amendment.
“It is difficult to imagine a legislative proposal more fundamentally at odds with our nation’s founding spirit than requiring citizens and journalists to register their publications with the government under pain of fines,” the spokesperson said.
S.B. 1316 was introduced in the Florida Senate on February 28 by GOP lawmaker Jason Brodeur. The proposed law would require any blogger who writes about DeSantis or other elected officials — and is paid for their work — to register with the state.
If passed, the law would also mandate that these bloggers submit monthly reports about their work, outlining how much payment they received, and who paid them.
When asked about the bill, Brodeur told the website Florida Politics he thinks “paid bloggers are lobbyists who write instead of talk.”
It’s unclear if DeSantis personally supports Brodeur’s proposed law. In a message to Insider on Friday, a spokesman for DeSantis said the governor’s communications office is “reviewing the bill.”
“As usual, the governor will consider the merits of a bill in final form if and when it passes the legislature,” the spokesman told Insider.
Brodeur and representatives for DeSantis did not immediately respond to Insider’s requests for comment on the two organizations’ rebukes of S.B. 1316.