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Senate approves Free Flow of Information Act

The Texas Senate voted 27-4 to pass SB 966, the Free Flow of Information Act, a law that protects the confidentiality of whistleblowers and protects newsroom work product.

The bill now moves to the House for consideration.

SB 966 creates a qualified privilege for sources and work product, meaning protection against compelled testimony to reveal sources or release 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. Robert Duncan, R-Lubbock sponsored SB 966. The bill will substitute HB 2249, the companion House measure, sponsored by Rep. Corbin Van Arsdale, R-Houston and Chairman Aaron Peña, D-Edinburg.

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

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

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

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