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Rouson says he beat GOP to Internet ad legislation



The Internet advertising case involving St. Petersburg mayoral candidate Scott Wagman has turned into a game of political one-upsmanship.

A day after an Orlando Republican said he intended to file legislation that would exempt some Internet advertisements from a required political disclaimer, state Rep. Darryl Rouson, D-St. Petersburg, said he already filed a bill to do exactly that.

"I've been working on this for the last six days," Rouson said Thursday. "This is my hometown. I saw this happen when it happened. I saw the illogic if you will and determined immediately that something needed to be done."

The bill, House Bill 67, would exempt political advertisements on the Internet from providing a disclaimer as long as they linked to a Web site that did include a disclaimer. Rouson said an identical bill is to be filed in the state Senate by Sen. Dave Aronberg, D-Greenacres. Aronberg is running for state attorney general.

Rouson said the bill was filed on Wednesday at 3 p.m. The statement from Rep. Eric Eisnaugle, R-Orlando, was released Wednesday morning. State Sen. Ted Deutch, D-Boca Raton, then fired off a press release pointing out that he filed a similar bill in 2008 that went nowhere.

Wagman, a first-time candidate, is being investigated by the state Election Commission for advertisements purchased on the search engine Web site Google.

The ads, which appear as part of Google searches, do not include a political advertising disclaimer. Wagman's campaign has said the disclaimer is longer than the ad allows and questions whether a disclaimer is even required.

Wagman, a registered Democrat, has decided to fight the law rather than pay a $250 fine.

Read Rouson's bill here.

Aaron Sharockman, Times Staff Writer


[Last modified: Wednesday, May 26, 2010 12:03pm]


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