Florida Senate - 2023                                    SB 1316
       By Senator Brodeur
       10-00366B-23                                          20231316__
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to information dissemination; amending
    3         s. 45.031, F.S.; deleting a provision requiring a
    4         judicial notice of sale to be published for a
    5         specified timeframe on a publicly accessible website;
    6         amending s. 50.0311, F.S.; specifying that a
    7         governmental agency may use the public website of a
    8         county to publish legally required advertisements and
    9         public notices if the cost for such publication is not
   10         paid by or recovered from a person; creating s.
   11         286.31, F.S.; defining terms; requiring bloggers to
   12         register with the Office of Legislative Services or
   13         the Commission on Ethics, as applicable, within a
   14         specified timeframe; requiring such bloggers to file
   15         monthly reports with the appropriate office by a
   16         certain date; providing an exception; specifying
   17         reporting requirements; authorizing a magistrate to
   18         enter a final order determining the reasonableness of
   19         circumstances for an untimely filing or a fine amount;
   20         requiring that the Legislature and the Commission on
   21         Ethics adopt a specified rule; providing penalties for
   22         late filing; prohibiting the assessment of a fine for
   23         the first time a report is not timely filed, under
   24         specified conditions; authorizing bloggers to appeal a
   25         fine within a specified timeframe; specifying the
   26         appeal process; authorizing bloggers to request that
   27         the appropriate office waive the reporting requirement
   28         under specified conditions; providing that unpaid
   29         fines for a specified timeframe may be recovered
   30         through the courts of this state; providing an
   31         effective date.
   33  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   35         Section 1. Subsection (2) of section 45.031, Florida
   36  Statutes, is amended to read:
   37         45.031 Judicial sales procedure.—In any sale of real or
   38  personal property under an order or judgment, the procedures
   39  provided in this section and ss. 45.0315-45.035 may be followed
   40  as an alternative to any other sale procedure if so ordered by
   41  the court.
   42         (2) PUBLICATION OF SALE.—Notice of sale shall be published
   43  on a publicly accessible website as provided in s. 50.0311 for
   44  at least 2 consecutive weeks before the sale or once a week for
   45  2 consecutive weeks in a newspaper of general circulation, as
   46  provided in chapter 50, published in the county where the sale
   47  is to be held. The second publication by newspaper shall be at
   48  least 5 days before the sale. The notice shall contain:
   49         (a) A description of the property to be sold.
   50         (b) The time and place of sale.
   51         (c) A statement that the sale will be made pursuant to the
   52  order or final judgment.
   53         (d) The caption of the action.
   54         (e) The name of the clerk making the sale.
   55         (f) A statement that any person claiming an interest in the
   56  surplus from the sale, if any, other than the property owner as
   57  of the date of the lis pendens must file a claim before the
   58  clerk reports the surplus as unclaimed.
   60  The court, in its discretion, may enlarge the time of the sale.
   61  Notice of the changed time of sale shall be published as
   62  provided herein.
   63         Section 2. Section 50.0311, Florida Statutes, is amended to
   64  read:
   65         50.0311 Publication of governmental agency advertisements
   66  and public notices on a publicly accessible website and
   67  governmental access channels.—
   68         (1) For purposes of this chapter, the term “governmental
   69  agency” means a county, municipality, school board, or other
   70  unit of local government or political subdivision in this state.
   71         (2) For purposes of notices and advertisements required
   72  under s. 50.011, the term “publicly accessible website” means a
   73  county’s official website or other private website designated by
   74  the county for the publication of legal notices and
   75  advertisements that is accessible via the Internet. All
   76  advertisements and public notices published on a website as
   77  provided in this chapter must be in searchable form and indicate
   78  the date on which the advertisement or public notice was first
   79  published on the website.
   80         (3) A governmental agency may use the publicly accessible
   81  website of the county in which it lies to publish legally
   82  required advertisements and public notices if the cost of
   83  publishing advertisements and public notices on such website is
   84  less than the cost of publishing advertisements and public
   85  notices in a newspaper, and the cost for publication is not to
   86  be paid by or recovered from a person.
   87         (4) A governmental agency with at least 75 percent of its
   88  population located within a county with a population of fewer
   89  than 160,000 may use a publicly accessible website to publish
   90  legally required advertisements and public notices only if the
   91  governing body of the governmental agency, at a public hearing
   92  that has been noticed in a newspaper as provided in this
   93  chapter, determines that the residents of the governmental
   94  agency have sufficient access to the Internet by broadband
   95  service, as defined in s. 364.02, or by any other means, such
   96  that publishing advertisements and public notices on a publicly
   97  accessible website will not unreasonably restrict public access.
   98         (5) A special district spanning the geographic boundaries
   99  of more than one county that satisfies the criteria for
  100  publishing and chooses to publish legally required
  101  advertisements and public notices on a publicly accessible
  102  website must publish such advertisements and public notices on
  103  the publicly accessible website of each county it spans. For
  104  purposes of this subsection, the term “special district” has the
  105  same meaning as in s. 189.012.
  106         (6) A governmental agency that uses a publicly accessible
  107  website to publish legally required advertisements and public
  108  notices shall provide notice at least once per year in a
  109  newspaper of general circulation or another publication that is
  110  mailed or delivered to all residents and property owners
  111  throughout the government’s jurisdiction, indicating that
  112  property owners and residents may receive legally required
  113  advertisements and public notices from the governmental agency
  114  by first-class mail or e-mail upon registering their name and
  115  address or e-mail address with the governmental agency. The
  116  governmental agency shall maintain a registry of names,
  117  addresses, and e-mail addresses of property owners and residents
  118  who have requested in writing that they receive legally required
  119  advertisements and public notices from the governmental agency
  120  by first-class mail or e-mail.
  121         (7) A link to advertisements and public notices published
  122  on a publicly accessible website shall be conspicuously placed:
  123         (a) On the website’s homepage or on a page accessible
  124  through a direct link from the homepage.
  125         (b) On the homepage of the website of each governmental
  126  agency publishing notices on the publicly accessible website or
  127  on a page accessible through a direct link from the homepage.
  128         (8) A governmental agency that has a governmental access
  129  channel authorized under s. 610.109 may also include on its
  130  governmental access channel a summary of all advertisements and
  131  public notices that are published on a publicly accessible
  132  website.
  133         (9) A public bid advertisement made by a governmental
  134  agency on a publicly accessible website must include a method to
  135  accept electronic bids.
  136         Section 3. Section 286.31, Florida Statutes, is created to
  137  read:
  138         286.31 Blogger registration and reporting.—
  139         (1)As used in this section, the term:
  140         (a)“Blog” means a website or webpage that hosts any
  141  blogger and is frequently updated with opinion, commentary, or
  142  business content. The term does not include the website of a
  143  newspaper or other similar publication.
  144         (b)“Blogger” means any person as defined in s. 1.01(3)
  145  that submits a blog post to a blog which is subsequently
  146  published.
  147         (c)“Blog post” is an individual webpage on a blog which
  148  contains an article, a story, or a series of stories.
  149         (d)“Compensation” includes anything of value provided to a
  150  blogger in exchange for a blog post or series of blog posts. If
  151  not provided in currency, it must be the fair-market value of
  152  the item or service exchanged.
  153         (e)“Elected state officer” means the Governor, the
  154  Lieutenant Governor, a Cabinet officer, or any member of the
  155  Legislature.
  156         (f)“Office” means, in the context of a blog post about a
  157  member of the Legislature, the Office of Legislative Services
  158  or, in the context of a blog post about a member of the
  159  executive branch, the Commission on Ethics, as applicable.
  160         (2)If a blogger posts to a blog about an elected state
  161  officer and receives, or will receive, compensation for that
  162  post, the blogger must register with the appropriate office, as
  163  identified in paragraph (1)(f), within 5 days after the first
  164  post by the blogger which mentions an elected state officer.
  165         (3)(a)Upon registering with the appropriate office, a
  166  blogger must file monthly reports on the 10th day following the
  167  end of each calendar month from the time a blog post is added to
  168  the blog, except that, if the 10th day following the end of a
  169  calendar month occurs on a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday,
  170  the report must be filed on the next day that is not a Saturday,
  171  Sunday, or legal holiday.
  172         (b)If the blogger does not have a blog post on a blog
  173  during a given month, the monthly report for that month does not
  174  need to be filed.
  175         (c)The blogger must file reports with the appropriate
  176  office using the electronic filing system:
  177         1.As provided in s. 11.0455 if the blog post concerns an
  178  elected member of the Legislature; or
  179         2.As provided in s. 112.32155 if the blog post concerns an
  180  officer of the executive branch.
  181         (d)The reports must include all of the following:
  182         1.The individual or entity that compensated the blogger
  183  for the blog post.
  184         2.The amount of compensation received from the individual
  185  or entity, regardless of how the compensation was structured.
  186         a.The amount must be rounded to the nearest $10 increment.
  187         b.If the compensation is for a series of blog posts or for
  188  a defined period of time, the blogger must disclose the total
  189  amount to be received upon the first blog post being published.
  190  Thereafter, the blogger must disclose the date or dates
  191  additional compensation is received, if any, for the series of
  192  blog posts.
  193         3.The date the blog post was published. If the blog post
  194  is part of a series, the date each blog post is published must
  195  be included in the applicable report.
  196         4.The website and website address where the blog post can
  197  be found.
  198         (4)Notwithstanding any other law, a magistrate is
  199  authorized to enter a final order in determination of the
  200  reasonableness of circumstances for an untimely filing of a
  201  required report and the amount of a fine, if any.
  202         (5)Each house of the Legislature and the Commission on
  203  Ethics shall adopt by rule, for application to bloggers, the
  204  same procedure by which lobbyists are notified of the failure to
  205  timely file a report and the amount of the assessed fines. The
  206  rule must also provide for, but need not be limited to, the
  207  following provisions:
  208         (a)A fine of $25 per day per report for each day late, not
  209  to exceed $2,500 per report.
  210         (b)Upon receipt of an untimely filed report, the amount of
  211  the fine must be based upon the earlier of the following:
  212         1.The date and time that the untimely report is actually
  213  received by the office.
  214         2.The date and time on the electronic receipt issued
  215  pursuant to s. 11.0455 or s. 112.32155.
  216         (c)The fine must be paid within 30 days after the notice
  217  of payment due is transmitted, unless an appeal is filed with
  218  the office. The fine amount must be deposited into:
  219         1.If the report in question relates to a post about a
  220  member of the Legislature, the Legislative Lobbyist Registration
  221  Trust Fund;
  222         2.If the report in question relates to a post about a
  223  member of the executive branch, the Executive Branch Lobby
  224  Registration Trust Fund; or
  225         3.If the report in question relates to a post about
  226  members of both the Legislature and the executive branch, the
  227  lobbyist registration trust funds identified in subparagraphs 1.
  228  and 2., in equal amounts.
  229         (d)A fine may not be assessed against a blogger the first
  230  time a report for which the blogger is responsible is not timely
  231  filed. However, to receive this one-time fine waiver, all
  232  untimely filed reports for which the blogger remains responsible
  233  for filing must be filed with the office within 30 days after
  234  the notice of untimely filing was transmitted to the blogger. A
  235  fine must be assessed for any subsequent late-filed reports.
  236         (e)The blogger is entitled to appeal a fine, based upon
  237  reasonable circumstances surrounding the failure to file by the
  238  designated date, by making a written request to the office for a
  239  hearing before the magistrate from the Second Judicial Circuit.
  240  Any such request must be made within 30 days after the notice of
  241  payment due is transmitted to the blogger. The office shall
  242  transmit all such timely, written requests to the chief judge of
  243  the Second Judicial Circuit along with the evidence the office
  244  relied on in assessing the fine. The magistrate, after holding a
  245  hearing, shall render a final order, upholding the fine or
  246  waiving it in full or in part.
  247         (f)A blogger may request that the filing of a report be
  248  waived upon good cause shown based on reasonable circumstances.
  249  The request must be filed with the office, which may grant or
  250  deny the request.
  251         (g)Fines that remain unpaid for a period in excess of 100
  252  days after final determination are eligible for recovery through
  253  the courts of this state.
  254         Section 4. This act shall take effect upon becoming a law.