Florida Blogger Registration Bill Violates First Amendment: ACLU

  • If passed, SB 1316 would require all bloggers who write about DeSantis to register with the state.
  • Two organizations told Insider that the proposed legislation is a clear violation of the First Amendment.
  • “This bill is un-American to its core,” a representative of the Florida chapter of the ACLU 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 told Insider that the proposed law violates the right to free speech.

A representative for the Florida chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union told Insider that the bill, SB 1316, is “un-American at its core.”

“This is a clear violation of the First Amendment because it strongly prevents bloggers from speaking about politics – one of the most critical types of speech for maintaining a democracy,” the ACLU representative told the Insider.

The ACLU representative added that the First Amendment “protects our right to learn and read free from viewpoint-based censorship.”

“The US Constitution demands that we put aside such frivolous political agendas and instead emphasize the value of freedom of expression,” added the spokesperson.

A spokesperson for the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression, a nonprofit civil liberties group, also told Insider that the bill is an “attack” on the First Amendment.

“It is difficult to imagine a legislative proposal more fundamentally contrary to the spirit of our nation’s founding than to require citizens and journalists to register their publications with the government under pain of fines,” said spokesperson.

SB 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 require these bloggers to submit monthly reports about their work, outlining how much they are paid, and who pays them.

When asked about the bill, Brodeur told the website Florida Politics that he thinks “paid bloggers are lobbyists who write instead of talk.”

It’s unclear whether DeSantis personally supports Brodeur’s proposed legislation. In a message to Insider on Friday, a spokeswoman for DeSantis said the governor’s communications office was “reviewing the bill.”

“As usual, the governor will consider the merits of a bill in its final form if and when it passes the legislature,” the spokesperson told Insider.

Brodeur and representatives for DeSantis did not immediately respond to Insider’s requests for comment on the two organizations’ criticism of SB 1316.

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