The idea didn’t make the 2022 legislative session’s agenda. A bill was never filed, according to Florida’s First Amendment Foundation.
But public records show Stephanie Kopelousos, DeSantis’ legislative affairs director, shared a draft proposal and briefing document just before lawmakers kicked off their annual session on Jan. 11. Those documents targeted New York Times Co. v. Sullivan, a 1964 landmark Supreme Court decision that made it extremely difficult for public officials to win a libel case.
A briefing document declared that the goal was to end federal standards established in the Times ruling and make defamation purely a matter of state law.
The draft bill would have changed the criteria for determining whether a falsehood was published with “actual malice,” limited the definition of “public figure” and presumed statements from anonymous sources to be false in defamation cases.