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Pajamas:1. Politicos:2

Apr
5
2005

They came, they saw and they passed two pieces of legislation.
Never a group to say “enough,” the San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed its ethics and campaign finance legislation twice today. One bill has all the faults the blogosphere has derided. The other doesn’t. One – the faulty one – will move toward passage and be voted on again next week. The cleaned-up version will move toward passage, too. Only it has to go to the city’s Ethics Commission for review.


The idea is that the new, cleaner version – that specifically exempts Internet-based communication including web logs, posting to sites and listserve mailings sent to folks who solicit that contact – will clear Ethics then catch up to the flawed bill. The newer bill will then be substituted for the flawed proposal. Goofy, but, hey, I wasn’t kidding about the sausage.
The reason for the tag-teaming has to do with the procedural rules governing how the city enacts legislation. If the board didn’t pass its new ethics legislation today, members worried that the new rules wouldn’t go into effect in time for this Fall’s election. So they’ve sent one, amended version, to their Ethics Commission for a look – which is required by law – and are hoping it comes back to them in time to be substituted for the flawed bill.
And you thought writing code was hard. Ha!
But here’s the important part, at least for the short-run: Pretty much everyone on the board agreed that on-line sites like this were, and are, exempt. The revised version of the bill makes this crystal clear. But in speech after speech, almost all of the 11 members of the board said they didn’t intend to regulate web logs or – like they would try – stand alone journalists.
“Blogs are to be exempt,” said Supervisor Sophie Maxwell, specifically citing the phrasing that cuts “news stories, commentaries or editorials distributed through any newspaper, radio station, television station or other recognized news medium unless such news medium is owned or controlled by a political party” out of the ordinance. “The intent of the legislation is to cover blogs as a recognized news entity,” Maxwell said.
So there you have it bloggers. A license to do what you do best. At least here in San Francisco. And no, no mention was made of pajamas.

Share  Posted by Chris Nolan at 2:45 PM | Permalink

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