Author of Be Ready for Anything and Bloom Where You’re Planted online course
Just when you thought the world of free speech couldn’t get more draconian, a bill that proves you wrong appears in the Florida Congress. Sen. Jason Brodeur (R) created a sweeping bill that would require bloggers who write about any government official to register with the state.
(Okay, I’m kidding. We all knew things were going downhill and bound to get worse. This is definitely worse, though.)
The very idea that, in the United States of America, one would need to register with the government to talk about the government is profoundly, deeply, and disturbingly un-American.
What does SB:1315 say?
Here’s what would happen. Bloggers must continuously update the state on how much money they made on any articles mentioning government officials. If the bill were to pass, failure to register and update the state about compensation will result in daily fines.
SB:1315: Information Dissemination targets bloggers specifically. For a small, one-person blog that covers politics, the paperwork would be so onerous as to put them out of business. I guess a blogger must’ve written something about Sen. Brodeur and hurt his feelings enough he wrote an entire law about it.
Here’s some of the verbiage:
- requiring bloggers to register with the Office of Legislative Services or the Commission on Ethics, as applicable, within a specified timeframe;
- requiring such bloggers to file monthly reports with the appropriate office by a certain date; providing an exception;
- specifying reporting requirements;
- authorizing a magistrate to enter a final order determining the reasonableness of circumstances for an untimely filing or a fine amount;
- requiring that the Legislature and the Commission on Ethics adopt a specified rule; providing penalties for late filing;
- prohibiting the assessment of a fine for the first time a report is not timely filed, under specified conditions;
- authorizing bloggers to appeal a fine within a specified timeframe
- specifying the appeal process; authorizing bloggers to request that the appropriate office waive the reporting requirement under specified conditions;
- providing that unpaid fines for a specified timeframe may be recovered through the courts of this state; providing an effective date.
There’s more, but that’s the gist of it.
Another attack on free speech
First things first, please note that the sponsor of this bill is a Republican. People are always ready to point fingers at the Democrats for offenses against the 1st Amendment (and with good cause, which we’ll discuss in a moment). But it’s really a government problem, not a party problem. Almost everyone in government would like to shut us up and prevent us from questioning their narratives.
Attention, Florida: Senator Brodeur has just shown you what he thinks of a free press and free speech. You’ll probably want to remember this nonsense at re-election time in 2024. Is this really the person you want to represent you? I’m flummoxed by the entire thing.
We need to forget choosing the lesser of two evils. Choose better. We can do better than this. We deserve a country that abides by the Constitution, and we should demand it.
This bill comes to light right as the hits start piling up on GDI, the Global Disinformation Index.
The Global Disinformation Index is a British-based non-profit group that previously received $665,000 from the Global Engagement Center and National Endowment for Democracy (NED), a State Department-backed group, while it was overseeing censorship of “conspiracy theories” about COVID-19.
One of these conspiracy theories was the notion that COVID-19 originated from a lab leak in Wuhan, which GDI claimed had “been fact-checked and proven untrue.”
GDI abused its influence to pressure Big Tech firms like Google to cut advertising from conservative websites that pushed the lab leak theory, placing them on a secret blacklist called a “dynamic exclusion list” in an effort to put them out of business.
The group targeted firms that were “providing ad revenue streams to known disinformation sites peddling coronavirus conspiracies.”
Incidentally, this US-govt-sponsored entity is the one that caused The Organic Prepper website to be defunded three years ago. They tried valiantly to silence us and destroy this business. (On that note, please consider sponsoring us on Patreon for as little as $5 per month.) We were attacked again by another platform, Newsguard, who downgraded us because I refused to update articles with untruths. Incidentally, every single thing we were called out for reporting has turned out to be true.
This isn’t the first anti-free-speech attack in Florida.
As much as I like(d) Florida Governor DeSantis, it’s concerning to me that he advocated for another bill in the Florida House of Representatives that would make it easier to sue the press for defamation.
HB 991: Defamation, False Light, and Unauthorized Publication of Name or Likenesses is currently on the table. Here’s the official synopsis:
Provides that journalist’s privilege does not apply to defamation claims when defendant is professional journalist or media entity; revises provisions concerning venue for certain actions; provides for attorney fees & costs to prevailing plaintiffs in certain actions; specifies certain persons may not be considered public figures; provides certain allegations are defamatory per se; provides statutory damages to prevailing plaintiffs who are subject of such allegations; creates presumption that statement by anonymous source is presumptively false; provides public figure does not need to show actual malice to prevail in defamation action.
This appears to target legacy media as opposed to bloggers, but the chilling effect on reporting would be the same. Another concerning factor in this bill is that journalists would no longer be protected for refusing to name anonymous sources.
This is given me second thoughts about the suitability of DeSantis for President, but he could still prove me wrong.
Gosh. I hope I don’t get sued for saying that.
UPDATE: Governor DeSantis has denounced the blogger bill, saying, “It’s not anything I’ve ever supported.”
Will the anti-blogger bill pass?
I think (hope) this ridiculous drivel is unlikely to pass. Brodeur is the only sponsor of the bill and the only person with his name on it. While others in the Florida Senate may or may not wish for a financial muzzle to be placed on members of the alternative media, they’re not so brazen as to announce that they want to stomp all over the First Amendment like the rather incomparable Sen. Brodeur.
There’s a serious problem in the Florida legislature right now, though, for all these anti-free-speech bills to be presented.
When free speech dies, free thought dies.
Alternative media is the last hope for honest journalism and commentary. Sure, we have advertisers, but they don’t call the shots as they do with the MSM. We’re in business to make money, but we’re also independent by nature, or we wouldn’t be doing what we’re doing. Trust me, it would never be worth the hassle if we didn’t firmly believe we were making a difference.
Way back in 2018, when Alex Jones first began to be deplatformed, I said that you didn’t have to like or support Jones to be concerned about the ramifications of this. Silence one person in the alternative media, and you open the door to silencing all of us.
And that appears to be exactly what they’re trying to do.
What do you think about the assault on free speech?
Do you find the bills in Florida to be concerning? Are you worried about the future of free speech and alternative media? Are you surprised that it’s a Republican sponsoring this bill? Or, alternatively, do you think these measures are reasonable?
Let’s discuss it in the comments.
Daisy Luther is a coffee-swigging, adventure-seeking, globe-trotting blogger. She is the founder and publisher of three websites. 1) The Organic Prepper, which is about current events, preparedness, self-reliance, and the pursuit of liberty; 2) The Frugalite, a website with thrifty tips and solutions to help people get a handle on their personal finances without feeling deprived; and 3) PreppersDailyNews.com, an aggregate site where you can find links to all the most important news for those who wish to be prepared. Her work is widely republished across alternative media and she has appeared in many interviews.
Daisy is the best-selling author of 5 traditionally published books, 12 self-published books, and runs a small digital publishing company with PDF guides, printables, and courses at SelfRelianceand Survival.com You can find her on Facebook, Pinterest, Gab, MeWe, Parler, Instagram, and Twitter.