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Free Flow of Information Act advances in Texas Senate

In a 4-0 vote today, the Senate Jurisprudence Committee today passed a committee substitute of SB 966, the Texas Free Flow of Information Act. The bill now moves to the full Senate for consideration.

Chairman Jeff Wentworth, R-San Antonio; Sen. Robert Duncan, R-Lubbock; Sen. John Carona, R-Dallas and Sen. Kirk Watson, D-Austin voted in favor of the measure.

SB 966 creates a qualified privilege for sources and work product, meaning protection against compelled testimony to reveal sources, or release of tapes and notes, applies only in certain instances. For example, testimony could be compelled if a journalist is a witness to certain types of crimes.

Sen. Rodney Ellis, D-Houston and Sen. Duncan are sponsoring SB 966.
The House companion bill, HB 2249, is sponsored by Rep. Corbin Van Arsdale, R-Houston and Chairman Aaron Pena, D-Edinburg.

Thirty-two other states and the District of Columbia currently have some form of law protecting journalists' sources and workproduct, including every single state bordering Texas.

Four other states and the United States Congress are also currently debating such legislation.

Contact TAB's Michael Schneider or call (512) 322-9944.

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