Revisions sought for California press shield law

A bill seeking to strengthen California’s press shield law is being introduced in the state legislature to allow reporters to keep their sources confidential. The bill is a response to the Department of Justice’s obtaining two month’s worth of phone records from the Associated Press in an investigation of a leak involving an unsuccessful terror plot. (Capitol Weekly, July 11, 2013, by Samantha Gallegos)

The bill is written to close a loophole in the present California shield law that requires five day’s notice of subpoenas for records held by a reporter. The law does not cover phone records or e-mails held by a phone company or e-mail provider. There is some doubt that the bill would apply to the actions of federal government so state government officials could dodge the bill’s notification requirements by boosting a case to the federal level. (The Huffington Post, May 26, 3013, by Aaron Sankin)