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Maine Shield Law passes House committee

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  1. Prior Restraint
Maine's House Judiciary Committee has approved a shield law that would protect journalists from being forced to reveal their confidential…

Maine’s House Judiciary Committee has approved a shield law that would protect journalists from being forced to reveal their confidential sources.

State Rep. Jon Hinck (D-Portland) proposed the bill (LD 2047), which would give more protection to journalists using confidential sources and also shield whistleblowers who reveal illegal activities. 

Representatives from the Maine Press Association spoke in favor of the bill during a hearing on Jan. 24. Dan Walker, representing the MPA, said the bill would “provide a more stable, clear and concise method of protecting the First Amendment rights of the press.” Walker also worked with an attorney from the Attorney General’s Office to make amendments to the bill.

The members voted 5-2 in favor of the amended version of the bill, which limits protection to confidential sources and removes the definition of a “journalist.” The bill will not move to the full House until all the members of the committee have voted on it.