Shield law push needed as vote nears
A vote on the Free Flow of Information Act appears imminent, with the Senate Judiciary Committee expected to make S 448 the first bill it considers during its next Executive Business Meeting on the morning of Thursday, November 19.
A vote on the Free Flow of Information Act appears imminent, with the Senate Judiciary Committee expected to make S 448 the first bill it considers during its next Executive Business Meeting on the morning of Thursday, November 19. With the White House now on record as endorsing this proposal for a federal shield law, we foresee a favorable vote in the Judiciary Committee. But we must get the bill to a vote.
We know that certain Senators on the minority side of the Judiciary Committee continue to oppose this bill. We believe that these Senators, including Ranking Minority Member Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., and Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., will try to derail the bill through a combination of introducing several unfavorable amendments and a simple attempt at a filibuster. We believe that we have the support to defeat any amendments that will weaken S 448 in its current form. It is the procedural mechanism that could be more dangerous.
Your voice is needed to ensure that Senators supporting the shield law, especially those on the Judiciary Committee, request that S 448 be brought to an immediate vote in the Committee and, of course, that they vote in favor of S 448. As you well know, this legislation — especially as it might impact national security — has been discussed, debated, negotiated and amended several times over the course of more than five years. The Judiciary Committee has held extensive hearings on the shield law in previous Congresses. There will be the opportunity for comprehensive discussion of the legislation on the Senate floor. We believe that this White House-approved S 448 has the support of a majority of the Judiciary Committee and the Senate as a whole. It deserves a vote by each.
In addition to materials found on ASNE's Free Flow of Information Act home page, we are providing you with the most current version of S 448, as approved by the White House, as well as new background documents that show the evolution of key provisions through the past few yearsand how the administration's national security concerns have been addressed. Please consider using your editorial pages to support these efforts; those of you with a Senator on the Judiciary Committee (especially a Republican member of that Committee) can offer substantial help by editorializing or, should you feel comfortable doing so, by contacting your Senator directly to ask him or her to demand that the Judiciary Committee vote on S 448.
Please do not hesitate to contact us or ASNE Legal Counsel Kevin M. Goldberg at 703-812-0462 for more information.
ASNE Freedom of Information Co-Chairs
AttachmentsS448 Rev. 11-4
Changes over last five years
National security concern concessions