A shield dropped

Democrats on the Colorado Legislature’s Senate Judiciary Committee Monday rejected a bill that would have strengthened the state’s shield law, which protects journalists from having to reveal confidential sources.

It was an unfortunate 3-2 decision in which the two Republicans cast votes in support of the stronger shield law. The bill would have given Colorado journalists the same protections that reporters in a number of other states already have.

The legislation to strengthen the shield law was introduced by freshman Sen. Bernie Herpin, R-Colorado Springs. He chose to sponsor the bill after learning about the travails of FoxNews reporter Jana Winter, who was threatened with jail time for refusing to disclose the source of her information about alleged Aurora theater shooter James Holmes. A New York Court of Appeals last month rejected the demand that Winter reveal her sources. New York has a much stronger shield law, and Herpin modeled his legislation after it.

Democrats bought the argument of defense lawyers that strengthening the state’s shield law would make it harder to serve justice. In fact, a stronger shield law would only make it harder to harass reporters who produce stories that involve information from confidential sources.


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