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Abbott voices support for federal FFOIA

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott is urging the United States Senate to support the federal Free Flow of Information Act (S.2035). 

Abbott is joined by 41 other state attorneys general in an effort to pass legislation protecting the confidentiality of reporters' sources.

Largely modeled after U.S .Department of Justice guidelines, S. 2035 creates a qualified privilege, not an absolute one, establishing specific criteria for a federal court to evaluate when determining whether a reporter should be compelled to disclose confidential information.

The Department of Justice's long-standing guidelines similarly require federal prosecutors to make "all reasonable attempts" to obtain the information from alternative sources and to show that the information sought is "essential" before requiring disclosure of a journalist's confidential sources.

TAB President Ann Arnold and Laura Prather, of Associate Member law firm Sedgwick Detert Moran and Arnold, met with Abbott's staff on June 17 to encourage participating in the state attorneys general effort.

Abbott sent his own letter to majority leader Sen. Harry Reid, D- NV, and senate minority leader, Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-KY. 

The National Association of Attorneys General, sent a letter with 41 state attorneys general in support of the measure. 

S. 2035 has broad bipartisan support.  The Senate Judiciary Committee passed S. 2035 on Oct. 4, 2007 by a vote of 15-4 and the House of Representatives passed a similar measure by a vote of 398-21.

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