House Members Urge Senate to Take Up Shield Law

A bipartisan group of House members sent a letter Thursday to Senate leaders Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) urging the Senate to take up a House-passed media shield law.

House Minority Whip Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) and House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers (D-Mich.), who rarely agree on anything, joined the bill's sponsors Reps. Mike Pence (R-Ind.), and Rick Boucher (D-Va.) in writing Reid and McConnell.

"Our bill would provide a federal shield law to better protect the free press that our founders knew would be needed to create our vibrant country," the lawmakers wrote. Read the full letter after the jump.

The Pence-Boucher Free Flow of Information Act passed the House by a vote of 398-21 in October.

All three presidential contenders have voiced support for the bill.


The Honorable Harry Reid
Majority Leader
United States Senate
528 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

The Honorable Mitch McConnell
Minority Leader
United States Senate
361-A Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Majority Leader Reid and Minority Leader McConnell:

It is with deep concern that we write to urge you to swiftly take up our bill, H.R. 2102, the Free Flow of Information Act of 2007 that passed the House of Representatives on October 16, 2007, by a vote of 398-21.

The recent case regarding former USA TODAY reporter Toni Locy has highlighted the urgency of these protections. Locy was recently held in contempt of court for refusing to reveal her law enforcement sources in a civil case - not a criminal case, but a civil monetary damages case - for articles she wrote about the 2001 anthrax attacks, even after she revealed the names of two sources upon receiving approval from them to do so. The court's contempt citation is disturbing enough, but the order is actually punitive in nature. The court imposed escalating fines upon Locy, and took the extraordinary action of ordering that she cannot receive financial assistance from anyone to pay any accrued fines. Fortunately, the appellate court has stayed this unwise order, but this case served to drive home the real legal peril that many in the press face on a daily basis.

Our bill would provide a federal shield law to better protect the free press that our founders knew would be needed to create our vibrant country. This measure has been long in coming, but should be completed before the next reporter faces the same untenable choices as Locy. Congress should move swiftly to put this bill on the President