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Texas Senate unanimously passes reporter's shield law

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  1. Protecting Sources and Materials
The Texas State Senate has unanimously passed a reporter's shield bill, which is now headed for what could be its final…

The Texas State Senate has unanimously passed a reporter’s shield bill, which is now headed for what could be its final hurdles before becoming law.

The Senate voted 31-0 on Tuesday in favor of a measure protecting reporters from having to disclose confidential sources or reporting material in court.

Laura Prather, a media attorney who helped draft the legislation, said no amendments were made to the bill in the Senate. One amendment was proposed by state Sen. Tommy Williams, she said, that would have required disclaimers to be attached to published articles or aired broadcasts that used confidential sources, stating that such sources had been used and vouched for by the publishers. However, that amendment was withdrawn.

The bill now returns to the House for a concurrence vote, in which two-thirds of the lawmakers must agree to the changes made by the Senate committee, Prather said.  Less than a month ago, the House passed the bill with a unanimous 146 votes.

The bill would then head to Gov. Rick Perry for final approval. Since the legislation was a joint effort by the media, law enforcement and state politicians, Prather said she was hopeful that the governor would sign it.