Thursday, July 16, 2009

Daniels meets with senators, senators' staffs on Journalist Shield Law

WASHINGTON-- Later this year when the U.S. Senate passes the Free Flow of Information Act, I'd like to think it was, in part, because the efforts of 12 people, including myself, from the Society of Professional Journalists.

It took nearly two dozen appointments over a two-day period to ensure members of the U.S. Senate and their staffs were aware of how important protecting anonymous sources is in 2009.

While 49 states have laws that allow journalists to avoid reveal confidential sources, there is no such law at the federal level. For the last four years, SPJ has been fighting to change that.

Clint Brewer, our immediate past president for the Society of Professional Journalists played a big role in what happened last year with the bill. Lately, he's been continuing the push as head of our SPJ Government Relations Committee.

It was a pleasure watching Clint and our current SPJ President Dave Aeikens launch our conversations with the various Senate staffers who were appointed to hear our concerns.

Last year a House version of the Free Flow Information Act (H.R. 985) passed the House of Representatives 398-21 vote.

Now, Senate bill 448 is soon to be taken up by the Senate Judiciary Committee. That's the same body that this week held confirmation hearings for Judge Sonia Sotomayor.

As soon as Sotomayor's confirmation proceedings have concluded,the Judiciary Committee may turn its attention to other matters. We hope S.B. 448 is one of those matters.

In the meantime, this week's lobbying trip was a chance for me to see the work that goes into makes legislation such as the Free Flow of Information Act a reality.

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