Florida Senate advances legislation to regulate AI in political campaigns

The committee gave a favorable report for Senate Joint Resolution 1114 and its accompanying bill, SB 1116, both of which are sponsored by Senator Travis Hutson, a Republican from Palm Coast. This resolution aims to modify the state Constitution by eliminating the public financing program for statewide elections.

Florida Senate advances legislation to regulate AI in political campaigns
AP Photo/Michael Dwyer
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A new bill focusing on the regulation of artificial intelligence in political advertisements has been passed by a Florida Senate committee. This occurred in a session where the Senate Committee on Ethics and Elections also passed several bills related to campaign finance, including one that restricts the term lengths of county commissioners.

Senate Bill 850, specifically targeting the role of artificial intelligence in Florida's political landscape, was introduced by Sen. Nick DiCeglie, a Republican from St. Petersburg. He explained to the committee that the bill is designed to tackle issues associated with misleading campaign advertising. This is to be achieved by mandating that political ads created using AI technology carry disclaimers, Just The News reports.

“The increasing access to sophisticated AI-generated content threatens the integrity of elections by facilitating the dissemination of misleading or completely fabricated information that appears more realistic than ever," DiCeguile stated, adding, “The technology that produces this content has advanced rapidly and outpaced government regulation.”

DiCeglie stated that the legislation goes on to clarify generative AI as a machine-driven system capable of mimicking the structure and attributes of input data to create synthetic content such as images, videos, audio, and text, all based on a specified set of human objectives.

The committee gave a favorable report for Senate Joint Resolution 1114 and its accompanying bill, SB 1116, both of which are sponsored by Senator Travis Hutson, a Republican from Palm Coast. This resolution aims to modify the state Constitution by eliminating the public financing program for statewide elections.

Senator Tina Scott Polsky, a Democrat from Boca Raton, expressed her belief that the bill could potentially favor one political party over the other due to the Republicans having a larger financial resource.

Just The News reported:

"It is very clear that the Republican party has a lot more money, funding, outside groups, special interest groups who help pay for campaigns than the Democratic party has in Florida," Polsky said. "As a result, it seems that this would be a negative for Democratic candidates."

Hutson’s SB 884 further clarifies the authority of the Division of Elections to audit campaign finance reports and authorizes a candidate required to dispose of surplus funds and report such to, before disposition, request the Division of Elections audit the required report.

SB 438 is sponsored by Sen. Blaise Ingoglia, R-Spring Hill, and was reported favorably by the committee. It would create term limits for county commissioners no longer than eight years.

SB 782 is sponsored by Sen. Clay Yarborough, R-Jacksonville, was successful and would require precinct election boards to have at least one member of each of the two largest political parties included in their respective membership requirements.

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