Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is among the politicians who have expressed disapproval of a bill in Florida that would mandate political bloggers to disclose any payments received for posts about the state’s leadership.
“The idea that bloggers criticizing a politician should register with the government is insane,” Gingrich tweeted Sunday.
He urged the prompt withdrawal of the proposal by state Senator Jason Brodeur, who is also a member of the Republican Party.
As per the bill, bloggers would be required to pay $25 for each day they fail to disclose funding for stories that are not published on a newspaper or a similar publication’s website.
In a tweet, Brodeur mentioned that his proposal aimed to reveal the present “pay-to-play scheme” and provide voters with transparency regarding who is influencing their elected representatives.
In response, Republican Florida state Sen. Blaise Ingoglia urged Gingrich to retract his statement, arguing that the bill would target bloggers who, similar to lobbyists, aim to influence public opinion.
Moreover, some people questioned how to define a “blog” in an era when news is consumed through numerous mediums.
Brad Smith, the former head of the Federal Election Commission, expressed his opinion that Brodeur’s bill would be invalidated by the court.
“Change ‘blogger’ to ‘reporter’ and see where you end up,” he said. “Blatantly unconstitutional — and a really bad idea to boot.”
Mike Harvey, a Democrat running for the Florida Senate, stated his surprise at finding himself in agreement with Gingrich.
“I’m so speechless, I don’t know what to say beyond that,” he tweeted.
Florida’s new legislative session begins Tuesday.