Proposed Florida Law Would Require Bloggers to Register and File Monthly Reports

A proposed Florida law would require bloggers who write about Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.), his Cabinet officers and members of the Florida legislature to register with the state and file monthly reports or face fines of $25 per day.[0] The bill was filed in the Florida Senate Tuesday by Republican Senator Jason Brodeur.[1]

Under the law, bloggers must reveal the amount of money they receive for their posts. Upon registering, bloggers would then have to file monthly reports on who paid the blogger, how much compensation they received and the date the blog post was published. A blog is described in the bill as “a website or webpage that accommodates any type of blogger and is regularly updated with opinion, commentary, or business-related information.”[2] The document additionally specifies that newspapers and other related periodicals are not to be included.[3]

“Paid bloggers are lobbyists who write instead of talk,” Brodeur said of his bill. “They both are professional electioneers. If lobbyists have to register and report, why shouldn’t paid bloggers?”

The “Information Dissemination” bill would include the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Cabinet officer, and any member of the Legislature as the elected state officers it covers.[4] The bill also allows for the state to charge fines for blogs that fail to file timely reports. The proposed legislation provides for late fees of $25 for each day, with a maximum of $2,500, to be paid within 25 days unless an appeal is submitted to the state Ethics Commission by the blogger.[5]

The legislation has drawn complaints from some online bloggers who have said it runs afoul of the First Amendment, which guarantees freedom on the press and does not allow encroachment on most written activities. Scott Wilkens, a senior counsel from the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University, expressed his worry to Ars that the proposed bill carries “serious First Amendment concerns about free speech online.” He further added that it is difficult to differentiate between bloggers who get paid to write about the Florida executive or legislative branches and journalists who do the same. According to Wilkens, the bill regulates speech concerning matters of public interest, which are covered by the First Amendment.

According to The New York Times, the proposal is anticipated to spark a discussion concerning the 1964 Supreme Court ruling of The New York Times Company v Sullivan, which has long safeguarded journalists against retaliatory defamation cases when reporting on public figures and influential elites.[6]

0. “State bill would require bloggers who write about Gov. DeSantis, other elected officials to register” CBS Miami, 3 Mar. 2023,

1. “Florida bill would make bloggers who write about governor register with state” Ars Technica, 3 Mar. 2023,

2. “Proposed Florida bill would require bloggers to register with state” News 13 Orlando, 3 Mar. 2023,

3. “Florida bill would require bloggers to register with state if paid to write about elected officials” WKMG News 6 & ClickOrlando, 3 Mar. 2023,

4. “GOP bill in Florida would require state registration for bloggers” MSNBC, 3 Mar. 2023,

5. “Bill would require bloggers who write about governor to register with the state, face fines” WGHP FOX8 Greensboro, 3 Mar. 2023,

6. “United States: IPI expresses alarm at defamation bill introduced by Florida legislature” International Press Institute, 3 Mar. 2023,

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