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Friday, April 01, 2005

Trickle-Down Despotism on Display in San Francisco With Bill to Regulate Bloggers

Boy, the Speech Police aren't wasting any time in spreading McCain-Feingold's campaign finance reform regulatory nonsense. Not only has it spread to the state level, now we see it on the local level. Wouldn't you know the first local government to propose regulating political speech on the Internet would be San Francisco?

Personal Democracy Forum's Michael Bassick has the details here on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors proposal to, among other things, force bloggers to register with the local commissars. Maybe they will put the blogger registry next to the Sex Offenders Registry? Supervisor Sophie Maxwell is the Speech Cop behind the proposal. Here's her email: sophie.maxwell@sfgov.org. Send her a link to the First Amendment!

UPDATE: Chris Nolan says the SF proposal has a history that pre-dates the recent FEC shenanigans. And he has a good point about the importance of bloggers being transparent about who's paying who, just as we expect that of politicians and non-profits.

UPDATE II: Daily Pundit spoke with Supervisor Maxwell's office and an aide there strenuously denies reports that a proposed measure in San Francisco would regulate blogs in any way. Blogs are not even mentioned in the draft measure, according to the aide, who also characterized reports to the contrary as a "red herring."

So we're out of the woods for now, right? Not so fast, says Daily Pundit:

"This is still a badly written piece of legislation, and in my opinion at the least needs a specific expemption for blogs and bloggers by name (and definition, if necessary) rather than, as it seems it is, relying on other city law that may, or may not, actually exempt the blogosphere from the piece of regulation. In other words, keep the pressure on."

A specific exemption sounds like a good idea. But now, haven't we heard that bit about the red herrings and blog regulation just recently on the Right Coast?