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Kansas senate committee approves reporter shield legislation

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  1. Protecting Sources and Materials
The Kansas Senate Judiciary Committee today agreed to send shield legislation to the state Senate floor for consideration. The bill,…

The Kansas Senate Judiciary Committee today agreed to send shield legislation to the state Senate floor for consideration.

The bill, SB 211, would protect journalists from having to disclose confidential sources or unpublished notes. It was originally written by state Sen. Derek Schmidt and had bipartisan sponsorship. Main features of the legislation include a test for compelling disclosure of privileged information.

A party seeking disclosure must show that the information is (1) material and relevant to the controversy for which the disclosure is sought; (2) could not be obtained by alternate means after exercising due diligence; and (3) is of a compelling interest.

The shield legislation effort in Kansas began in 2002, said Kansas Press Association Executive Director Doug Anstaett. The state’s Senate Judiciary Committee heard testimony from shield law supporters in 2008 about the legislation’s potential benefits to journalists and to the public.