Shield law alert - vote delayed
- By: ASNE staff
- On: 11/20/2009 15:05:00
- In: Shield law alerts
Here´s an update on the proposed federal shield law. The Senate Judiciary Committee had been expected Thursday to vote on S 448, the Free Flow of Information Act. But a vote became impossible after opponents introduced multiple amendments.
Here´s an update on the proposed federal shield law. The Senate Judiciary Committee had been expected Thursday to vote on S 448, the Free Flow of Information Act. But a vote became impossible after opponents introduced multiple amendments. Proponents, including Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, allowed consideration of each amendment. Two hours of robust discussion produced no changes to the legislation, but also no approval of the overall bill.
Sen. Jon Kyl has indicated he will introduce additional amendments when the Judiciary Committee next considers S 448 during the first week of December. We understand that the committee will consider every amendment that has been raised in good faith. However, if it becomes clear that those opposing the bill are simply attempting to subvert the legislative process, S 448´s co-sponsors will try to move it directly to the Senate floor. As co-sponsor Charles Schumer said Thursday: “If you still can´t vote for this bill, you don´t really want any protections for journalists. If you believe in the need for a fair and balanced bill, this is the bill.” We see this as a clear statement of continued support for the legislation and a reminder that it has been subject to comprehensive review and revision and approved by the White House.
When the Senate Judiciary Committee restarts the process the week of Dec. 1, we strongly believe that S 448 will eventually receive a vote on the Senate floor. It´s just a matter of whether that vote comes after Senate Judiciary Committee approval. Therefore, the Thanksgiving recess presents a prime opportunity for you to contact your senator while he or she is home for the holiday. Chairman Leahy and Senators Schumer, Specter, Kohl, Feinstein, Feingold, Durbin, Cardin, Whitehouse, Klobuchar, Kaufman, Franken and Lindsey Graham have worked hard to make this bill a reality and deserve to be recognized for their efforts. All other senators can certainly use a reminder that S 448 deserves their support when the bill makes it to the Senate floor.
For more information on S 448, please go to the ASNE Free Flow of Information Act pageor contact ASNE Legal Counsel Kevin M. Goldberg at 703-812-0462.