Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Shield laws advance in two states

Bills to enact journalist shield laws are moving forward in two states.
  • In Washington, the House of Representatives Feb. 13 voted 87-11 in favor of a bill (HB 2452)that would grant reporters an absolute privilege on protecting confidential sources, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports. The bill, which now goes to the Senate, would provide a more limited privilege on unpublished notes and tapes.
  • In Missouri, the Senate Judiciary and Civil and Criminal Jurisprudence Committee held a hearing Monday on a bipartisan measure that would create a qualified privilege for journalists, the Springfield News-Leader reports. "The bill would require anyone seeking confidential information from a reporter to detail for a circuit court judge the information sought, its relevancy to a case or investigation and the necessity of the information's release," the report says. It appears from the state legislature's calendar that it heard two versions of shield bills: SB 786 and SB 1013.

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