Shield vote, interrupted


The Senate Judiciary Committee failed to achieve a quorum last Thursday, and among the victims was the reporter’s shield. But the matter is already back on the schedule for this week. And a satellite bill has been added to the schedule.

The Society of Professional Journalists, for one highly interested group, was disheartened by the delay. We know that specifically because that’s what they said.

“We are disheartened by the unexpected delay in the vote on S. 448, the Free Flow of Information Bill, by the Senate Judiciary Committee today. We strongly encourage the senators to return to this piece of legislation soon and move it to the Senate floor,” SPJ President Kevin Smith said. “Every day journalists operate in this country without protection for its sources is another day the American public is potentially denied the type of courageous reporting that keeps a watch on government. We hope the Senate does the right thing for its citizens and allows this bill to become law.”

The Senate Judiciary has a business meeting on the schedule for Thursday 9/24/09, and right there in black and white is S. 448, Free Flow of Information Act of 2009, back on the agenda for consideration to be reported to the full Senate.

Also on the new agenda: S.1670, Satellite Television Modernization Act of 2009, the Senate version of SHVURA, which was referred to the full House of Representatives by the House Energy & Commerce Committee last week.

RBR/TVBR observation: This should be only a speed bump on the road to this bill’s passage into law.