The state of Florida has introduced a bill to its legislature that would require bloggers to register with the state if they write about a state executive official.
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Travel But Not Travel
We try to keep topics on Live And Let’s Fly focused on travel. That could be a restaurant worth reviewing, moves in the stock price of an airline, labor strife, or an airline review. It may extend to political leaders, especially if those leaders affect the travel space directly. This post isn’t particularly travel-related, but we do write about Florida for travel purposes often. For example, the state of Florida just took over Reedy Creek Development, the governing arm of Disney World Resort and often covered the state during Covid as its policies were vastly different to the rest of the US.
However, this is an important issue and we will be blogging about Florida and its leadership as we see fit, so this post is worth writing.
Digital Bill of Rights
State Senator Brodeur, the state of Florida, and chiefly, Governor Ron Desantis, announced a Digital Bill of Rights for executive leaders of the state. From SB 1316:
“requiring bloggers to register with the Office of Legislative Services or the Commission on Ethics, as applicable, within a specified timeframe; authorizing a magistrate to enter a final order determining the reasonableness of circumstances for an untimely filing or a fine amount, etc.” – Florida Senate
It targets the disclosure of how much bloggers are paid for content, and requires them to register content within five days of posting to avoid fines up to $2500. It also requires monthly reporting on such ongoing earnings from my understanding.
The target of this by the Senator is to retaliate against those who are able to write from a slanted perspective while they do not enjoy the same freedom online. DeSantis, when announcing the bill, commented on one-sided censorship of conservatives and “shadow banning” on social media for conservative commenters.
His sprawling comments are here, provided courtesy of WFLA, a Florida news station:
News outlets (undefined) would not be subject to the same requirements.
Unconstitutional – Go Ahead And Fine Me
Matthew is the legal eagle here at Live And Let’s Fly and he may weigh in himself. For me, this reeks of unconstitutionality, but a fight that would have to take place following its passage if it were to be approved. Here are some reasons why this insane bill wouldn’t hold muster.
Tracking clicks and relating it to revenue would be a largely inaccurate and difficult process. For the avoidance of doubt, this site has affiliate links that may pay us a commission but last year, for example, those affiliate links amounted to less than three months of a car payment for me. We don’t pound credit cards and ram affiliates on this site, we just don’t do it. We are largely compensated as a result of ads viewed on the site and while some may have grand visions of what that amounts to be, unique views amount to a small fraction of a cent per view. We wish it was higher, but it’s not.
To the shocking dismay of some, this is a labor of love.
To comply with this law as written we would have to accurately attribute revenue from a given page, every day of the month and collate that information. This is a near impossibility. While ad sources calculate revenue based on placement, clicks on those ads, and time of day, disclosing such even to us would be an arduous task that would cost far more to generate a report than it would be in revenue for either party.
Further, as the information lives on the site in perpetuity (there are more than 11,000 posts on Live And Let’s Fly alone), ongoing reporting would have to apply to any post that specifically mentions a Florida politician. (Are the politicians the only ones that are protected? If so, why?) That could mean tracking dozens, even hundreds of posts ongoing and forever only increasing the labor load and cost over time for less and less revenue.
Does this apply to past articles too? How will that be enforced?
What’s A News Outlet?
The notion that news outlets are excluded is an interesting caveat. What constitutes a news outlet? Obviously, having a website doesn’t meet the criteria, so what about online-only news outlets? Do I need to print a single paper edition of Live And Let’s Fly every day? How does one check to make sure I did?
Further, the Governor names some outlets he felt were biased. Under the provision, they would be free to continue to post as normal, while others must register. How does that serve his mission?
Fine Me, I’ll Be The First One
This is so incredibly unconstitutional that I will openly report on the leadership of the state and never register. So go ahead, fine me, make me the first one. I’ll be happy to fly down and bask in the Floridian sun while I challenge the validity of this absurd law.
Florida is putting forth a foolhardy bill before it’s senate to require bloggers to report earnings and make notice of content produced that mentions leadership. It’s shockingly brazen and unconstitutional and I, for one, will fight it to the death.
What do you think? Should bloggers be required to report earnings when referencing state officials of Florida?
Applauding your response. And where does the censorship end? Should a comment reference an elected official would that person be required to disclose any financial interest?
This is absolutely exemplifies the dangers of the paranoid right.
Great!! Ridiculous pork chop Ron DeSantis and his nut right wing sycophants fully at work with our tax dollars!!!
I wish I was joking, but this (and many other recent developments) is how authoritarianism starts.
This kind of thing is why I will not be spending my hard earned money in the State of Florida any time soon. Florida SSR.
FWIW, it seems that this is meant to target “sponsored content” / pay-to-play blogging, where the blogger is being specifically paid for blog posts about the covered officials — as opposed to something like advertising or general subscription revenue. So unless someone is secretly paying for you to post about Reedy Creek, I’m not sure it is meant to apply to you.
That being said, I’m not sure that makes this any less problematic, and I suspect this will get rightfully ruthlessly ridiculed.
@Commenting – I can see the intention but it depends on interpretation and the way the bill is written, and enforcement. Does it force unnecessary compliance if it’s too vague?
This is not ideal but when bakers are bankrupted by state governments for not baking a cake you can’t complain about this and not about that. What this bill is designed for is having partisan bloggers reveal their sources of income so the public knows what special interests or partisan groups are paying them to write what they write. You guys are happy with Soros prosecutors who target citizens for defending themselves from violent attack and are happy with county, state, and the federal government firing people for celebrating and recognizing traditional family values on their own time so here you go. New York’s gun law requires citizens to list 3 years history of social media accounts to be considered for a concealed carry permit for something that’s supposed to be a right and not dependent on what views a citizen holds. I don’t hear any criticism about this here.
Respectfully, 1) Can’t equate the bakery dispute on many levels. 2) “the bill is designed to have partisan bloggers meaning those not complimentary to the conservatives? 3) whose family values? Your family only? 4) The background checks for gun permits again are not for free speech. They’re for those that have a history of threatening behavior.
I think your correct. Its about facts and knowing who is paying for what. Image goverment body like russia, china or ukraine paying bloggers to wrtie stories with no proof or anonymous sources ( steelduring elections cycles. That blogger just help rig an election.
Those people in Florida deserve all they get from that clown.
“this wreaks of unconstitutionality”
Does this proposed legislation strike anyone else as the kind of thing Putin would come up with?
More like Hitler. But yes
Goodness, can we please move past the “Politician I don’t like is Hitler” nonsense? No American politician is anything like a man who started a world war and led a horrific genocide. Desantis isn’t Hitler, Biden isn’t Hitler, Trump wasn’t Hitler, Obama wasn’t Hitler, Bush wasn’t Hitler. Let’s engage on issues and disagree (strongly at times) over policy and governance, but this type of rhetoric accomplishes nothing.
Please read about the rise of Hitler. Then we’ll discuss
Biden is well on his way:
Currently, the dominant party, the Democrats, are becoming more and more similar to the early stages of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi party in Germany circa 1933-36. Our President, Joe Biden, recently gave a speech that is eerily reminiscent of Hitler in both setting and tone.
With his hands clenched in fists of anger (just like Hitler), Biden set about to dehumanize an entire sector of Americans whom he obviously hates (just like Hitler). His Department of Justice is holding hundreds of political prisoners in D.C. jails, many without bail, for charges as piffle as “parading” and trespass. His state police are raiding his opponents and serving upon them “General Warrants” of the type specifically prohibited by the U.S. Constitution. They erected steel fencing twice around the perimeter of D.C. government buildings guarded by as many as 30,000 U.S. military personnel – with machine guns – as a show of force.
The J6 hearings had far more in common with a Nazi Peoples Court than with the American way. The Peoples Court tried “political crimes” which is exactly what the J6 hearings are doing – without defense or objection – which is also exactly what took place under the Nazis.
I am not surprised at any of Biden’s actions. What does surprise me are the people who I once thought to be intelligent enough to recognize the realities that are currently staring them in the face and are just “fine” with all this. “Fine” with it, because they hold opposing beliefs. But how can they be so blind? Blind to the incredible lack of justice? Blind to the attempt to instill hatred and division in the hearts and souls of our citizens?
The following is from Martin Niemöller, a German pastor, who was imprisoned at Sachsenhausen and Dachau concentration camps, 1937-1945:
First they came for the Communists and I did not speak out because I was not a Communist.
Then they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the trade unionists and I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak out for me.
Incredible brain worms.
Where’s the lie, Dan?
Wow. You described Trump to the “T”.
Paul, you are correct to the extent that he is just as bad with the J6 prisoner issue as Biden is.
I’d say more like mussolini…
If you read the text of the law, Live and Lets Fly would not be covered unless someone was actually paying you to write about a government official in Florida. Advertising revenue is not in view. This is basically designed to put bloggers on the level of lobbyists or most forms of political advertising. Although I generally appreciate the job Gov. Desantis has done in my home state, I think this law is unnecessary and brings the government much too far into the realm of policing speech. It will hopefully be amended or fail to pass.
I am not an attorney but lobbied state legislatures for over 15 years so I know how to read legislation and you are absolutely correct. This has nothing to do with advertising revenue and wouldn’t apply to anybody on Boarding Area.
I love Florida and couldn’t care less about this bill. Restaurants are full. Most people seem happy. Flow of new arrivals hasn’t slowed. Guy was elected with 60% of vote – he can do pretty much whatever he wants. If Florida man and his political cousins scare you, by all means stay where you are and don’t visit. It’s getting kinda crowded here and we’ll be happier if you just stayed away. If you want to relax and do whatever makes you happy, you’ll probably enjoy it here. Most people here are too lazy to be judgmental.
Glad you’re in untroubled bliss. ” he can do whatever he wants” ? Your statement should be a red flag to start thinking. My family has two houses ,Miami & Brevard. Long before you arrived is my guess.
And “most people are too lazy to be judgemental” ? Second red flag.
Florida is also passing new hate speech bill, too–3rd degree felony and minimum five years in jail. So if you live in a Democrat controlled city or county like Broward where the Dems think protesting drag queen shows for children is “hate speech” you could be arrested, charged with a 3rd degree felony, and have a minimum 5 yr prison sentence. Communism is here, y’all. We’ve been trying to tell ya. Enjoy.
Well I know a state rep in Florida is also trying to pass a bill to ultimately bar the Democrat party from the state permanently. So yeaaaaaaa.
The bill I mentioned is expected to pass from what I’ve read. TBD. For the bill you mentioned:
The Florida Democratic party would not exist if a new Senate bill is passed and signed into law.
Spring Hill Republican Senator Blaise Ingoglia has filed SB 1248, which would be called “The Ultimate Cancel Act.”
While it does not mention the Democratic party’s name, it would direct the Florida Division of Elections to “immediately cancel the filings of a political party, to include its registration and approved status as a political party, if the party’s platform has previously advocated for, or been in support of, slavery or involuntary servitude.”
Southern Democrats advocated for slavery during the Civil War.
Under the Bill, registered Democrats would be automatically re-registered as having “no party affiliation.” The Democratic party officers could reorganize, but only under a substantially different name.
“For years now, leftist activists have been trying to “cancel” people and companies for things they have said or done in the past. This includes the removal of statues and memorials, and the renaming of buildings. Using this standard, it would be hypocritical not to cancel the Democrat Party itself for the same reason,” explained Sen. Ingoglia.
“For me, this wreaks of unconstitutionality”
So what happens if the blogger has no actual presence inside Florida? Or even inside the U.S.? Does Florida get to regulate speech on the internet worldwide? What is Florida’s enforcement mechanism outside of Florida?
This cesspool of a state just needs to secede already.
Already being discussed:
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene called for the U.S. to be separated by red and blue states and for shrinking the federal government in a tweet on President’s Day, the latest in a string of controversial statements.
“We need a national divorce. We need to separate by red states and blue states and shrink the federal government,” Greene, R-Ga., said in the tweet. “Everyone I talk to says this. From the sick and disgusting woke culture issues shoved down our throats to the Democrat’s traitorous America Last policies, we are done.”
The U.S. fought a civil war in the 1860s after a group of southern states tried to secede to preserve the legal enslavement of Black people.
Green isn’t the first Republican to call for some form of secession, and there are indications that support for secession has been growing since the 2020 elections. A June 2021 poll by Bright Line Watch and YouGov found that 66% of Southern Republicans supported leaving the U.S. and forming a new country. Support was also high among Democrats in the West, where 47% supported a division.
MTG should focus on fixing her mutant toes. I demand proof that she is human because looking those things I’m pretty sure she is some sort of reptile…
I have not seen her toes. Not a foot guy overall. Floors and feet are nasty. Will never understand foot fetishes.
It’s nothing more than drama to light up Desantis as some vigilante to whatever it is he envisions.
North Carolina years ago, when eBay became so powerful, attempted to require that anyone selling on eBay would be required to obtain a North Carolina auctioneers license. The problem was, after years of legal battles between eBay and North Carolina is that no one did, no one cared, and it quietly went away into the dark. As will this. Because when it comes down to it, who is going to enforce it and where is the money coming from to do so.
@Stuart. Comparing a requirement for an auctioneer license to stopping a citizen from criticizing an elected official? Really?
It’s too dangerous to be considered a stunt. And remember with the Dobbs decision I am more than worried
I’m not comparing the two as to the level of frightening. I’m just comparing the fact that in the end these state officials come up with ideas but have no way to actually implement them. I can talk about building a Utopian city on an Island in the Pacific with all the architecture done by Taddo Ando – but that doesn’t mean I can actually do it. Probably I can’t. Do you realize how many people will have to work on this department to enforce it? How many tax dollars will be used? Which law enforcement will be in charge? How bogged down the courts would be if they actually could? It’s all a pipe dream.
I do agree overall–there is certainly a lot of cross talk/fire/planning that isn’t meaningful and won’t amount to much. Desantis drama falls into that category for me.
The author fails to cite what, exactly, merits ‘unconstitutionality’ in this bill. Did you not vote for desantis and sign up for this inane rethuglican political theater?
@Nico Z – Sorry if it wasn’t apparent, the First Amendment (right of free speech and freedom of press) would do the trick alone. If bloggers are press, it’s unconstitutional, if bloggers aren’t press, then it’s freedom of speech and unconstitutional. Either way, these are given but the other reasons that it shouldn’t even progress to a vote is based on the other legal issues around it.
The beauty of this is, now you have to go to court to change it. DeSantis is playing 4D chess to make sure to crush the opposition! Just as George Washington would have wanted!
Forgive me, have you suffered injury? Or is it just your imagination that’s injured.
proactive > reactive
@aj until there is provable injury that the the 11th district court in Atlanta deems unconstitutional .. this is bloviating ring kissing on the part of the state rep and more hot air from the entertainment publisher who rushed to post this missive.
I get that Nico but the more light we shine on the craziness occurring in local, state, and federal governments at this time–the better–imo.
Florida bill would require bloggers who write about the governor and legislators to register with the state
The bill proposed by Republican state Sen. Jason Brodeur would also require bloggers who write about state officials to disclose who is paying them and how much.
I like MUCH of what Comrade DeSantis stands for and has done in pushing back against the “woke” agenda but this is a bridge too far. If this passes in its current form I hope the courts strike it down as an unconstitutional violation of the First Amendment.
I thought people were opposed to dark money in politics?
If a “blogger” is being paid by a candidate, PAC or donor to write negative content on a political figure how is that different than an attack ad on TV?
Those attack ads need to clearly state who paid for them so why shouldn’t a “blogger” be forced to follow the same rules?
I think transparency in politics is a great thing.
Even WaPo has gone all in on their “Democracy Dies in Darkness” shtick so this is an example where light is being shined on campaign finance.
Go hang out in your state capitol when they’re in session. Dark money is the ONLY thing that spins the wheels of politics.
And shining light on it should be everyone’s goal.
Kyle, why do you delete comments that point out egregious spelling errors?
This is what I call freedom! We need to make sure bloggers are registered so they don’t say anything that upsets me, and if they do they are swiftly punished. DeSantis is making sure to protect Florida’s from books that I don’t like, he’s firing people that make trouble by disagreeing with him, and he’s going to ban the democrats! I’m pretty sure the founding fathers had this exact action in mind, they were just waiting for someone bold enough to implement it
Regarding the books–until the marxist/LGBTQ+xyz control of education is fixed, I’m okay with it. We don’t need teachers wilding out about children’s sexuality. They’ll learn about it when they are ready.
Florida Teacher’s GoFundMe Gives Sexually Explicit Books to Kids
A teacher in Brevard County is determined to make sure students can access books that were removed from libraries due to inappropriate content, including sexually explicit illustrations and the use of gay hookup apps.
This is just one example of the “book” mess..there’s countless other examples, of course.
I posted earlier this morning on my feed.. Considering they can’t figure out property insurance in Florida, this is what the legislature is concerned with? Talk about prior restraint, freedom of speech and other constitutional issues.
This is 1984 Orwellian scary stuff.
Plus how much so it cost the state to enforce?
I will join you in blogging about them… Take me to court and fine me too.
@ Stuart You build that utopian village and I shall move. 2004 I wanted to build a minimalist concrete house on the bay. After trying to drag a train uphill for years, I got the waivers , but with the condition it be covered with siding. No.
Back to the topic. My guess is this will be enforced selectivity when needs be. Hence the danger
Byproduct of the Hard Right who stands for nothing but telling you what you can’t read and what you can’t do with your bodies. Tiny handed Meatball Ron is such a cuck. Serves the Republican base right.
Soros said DeSantis is shrewd and ambitious, plus Jeb Bush endorsed him. Those two things speak volumes for me alone. I doubt he will be the nominee.
As usual spewing liberal lies. Writing for WaPo and MSDNC speaks volumes
Oh, so Kyle is a liberal now? Glad you like the chilling oppression of speech when it is your side of the aisle doing it.
DeSantis is a facist pig. This scheme is obviously unconstitutional and impossible to manage. I live in FL and abhor our asshat governor. I have never voted for him and never will. I ask all of you to do the same.