The proposed legislation is included in Senate Bill 1. I looked it up on the Thomas website this morning. It seeks to add some forms of "grassroots lobbying" to the list of entities required to register as lobbyists. It is a convoluted bill, but in essence it states that an activity called "paid efforts to stimulate grassroots lobbying" will be a regulated activity requiring registration (a license from the government to practice free speech).
This "paid efforts to stimulate grassroots lobbying" includes by negative implication any attempt to influence the general public if directed at more than 500 people. The "paid" element seems to include any payment whatsoever. If a group of people pooled their resources to print a brochure, or if a blogger received payment, perhaps just to cover expenses, it probably would apply.(Note, there is a $25,000 per quarter provision for "Grassroots Lobbying Firms", but this seems to be independent of "paid efforts to stimulate grassroots lobbying").
There are a flurry of amendments that have been proposed seeking to remove this language, but the legislation as drafted now is appalling. Political free speech used to be the most protected right under the Constitution. Now it looks to be on its way to becoming the most regulated.
Here is the quoted segment of section 220 of S1. You can look it up for yourselves at http://thomas.loc.gov/ (type in S.1 in the bill number search, there is no permanent link).
(A) IN GENERAL- The term `paid efforts to stimulate grassroots lobbying' means
any paid attempt in support of lobbying contacts on behalf of a client to
influence the general public or segments thereof to contact one or more covered
legislative or executive branch officials (or Congress as a whole) to urge such
officials (or Congress) to take specific action with respect to a matter
described in section 3(8)(A), except that such term does not include any
communications by an entity directed to its members, employees, officers, or
shareholders.`(B) PAID ATTEMPT TO INFLUENCE THE GENERAL PUBLIC OR SEGMENTS
THEREOF- The term `paid attempt to influence the general public or segments
thereof' does not include an attempt to influence directed at less than 500
members of the general public.
So, if this bill passes, please do not send me any money. And if you are the 500th person to see this post, please leave immediately. Or at least don't tell anybody.
I have no intention of registering.