Legislative Alert: Shield Law back on track

This just in! The Senate Judiciary Committee will discuss S. 448, the Free Flow of Information Act, on Thursday, Sept. 24, at 10 a.m.

After the Committee delayed the discussion and vote on bill S. 448 Thursday, Sept. 17, SPJ encouraged the Committee to reopen discussions post haste. The Society is pleased with the quick turnaround.

S. 448 is pivotal to maintaining a free and independent press. The bill would create a federal shield law that would grant protections to journalists who refuse to reveal confidential sources, even when compelled by a subpoena and the threat of penal action. Currently, journalists and their sources are only protected by privilege statutes or administrative rules in certain states. There is no such protection at the federal level.

Once again, SPJ encourages you to contact your senators now to let them know that a federal shield law is crucial for a free press and the free flow of information. The Society appreciates your support and your voice for this vital piece of legislation. Let your senators know your opinion.

Here is a list of Senate Judiciary Committee members with their office phone numbers (Click on names for more contact information). If you are represented by these senators, please consider contacting them:

Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), Ranking Member, 202-224-4124
Jon Kyle (R-Ariz.), 202-224-4521
Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), 202-224-3841
Edward Kaufman (D-Del.), 202-224-5042
Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), 202-224-2152
Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), 202-224-3744
Benjamin Cardin (D-Md.), 202-224-4524
Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), 202-224-3244
Al Franken (D-Minn.), 202-224-5641
Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), 202-224-6542
Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), 202-224-5754
Arlen Specter (D-Pa.), 202-224-4254
Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), 202-224-2921
Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), 202-224-5972
John Cornyn (R-Texas), 202-224-2934
Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), 202-224-5251
Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Chairman, 202-224-4242
Herb Kohl (D-Wis.), 202-224-5653
Russell Feingold (D-Wis.), 202-224-5323

You may watch a webcast of the Executive Business Meeting held Thursday, Sept. 24 via this Web site.

Thank you for your support!

Defending the First Amendment and promoting open government are more crucial now than ever. Join SPJ's fight for the public’s right to know — either as an SPJ Supporter or a professional, student or retired journalist.


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