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Lawmaker to press: You got yours, how about ours?

Post by Kim Bradford on Sep. 1, 2009 at 1:00 pm with 1 Comment »
September 1, 2009 2:19 pm

While I’m on my open-government rant (see previous post), I’ll also chime in about yesterday’s meeting of the state Sunshine Committee. The committee finally got around to taking up chairman Tom Carr’s proposal to abolish “legislative privilege” that allows state lawmakers to withhold e-mails, letters and memos written on public equipment and by public employees.

The committee agreed with Carr 8-1. The lone dissenter: Sen. Adam Kline.

A public official not wanting to give up secrecy is nothing new (although I would point out that state Rep. Lynn Kessler is in exactly the same position and voted for Carr’s proposal). But Kline went on to justify his position by saying that reporters have their shield law, so why shouldn’t lawmakers have theirs?

Surely, Kline – the prime sponsor of the journalist shield law – isn’t saying that the press owes him one?

Courtesy of Jason Mercier at Washington Policy Center and TVW comes this footage of Kline’s argument and the response from Rowland Thompson, head of Allied Daily Newspapers.

Leave a comment Comments → 1
  1. derekyoung says:

    I’ve never quite understood how the legislature justifies the distinction they draw on this issue between state and local government. On everything from public meetings to public information requests, the legislature makes sure that local government can withhold little from public scrutiny (a good thing in my view) but chooses to hold meetings behind closed doors and keep correspondence secret.

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