Politics always offers surprising twists and turns.
Take the effort to make the journalists’ shield law permanent, including the protections it has offered to nontraditional as well as corporate journalists. It was the subject of a post here earlier this week, and is being tracked by Civil Beat.
It sounds like the kind of First Amendment hugging bill that would be guaranteed to get the support of the new, more progressive leadership in the House.
Not so much.
Instead, that idea has been turned on its head. The primary introducer of HB622–which in its original form would have simply made the existing law permanent, without diluting or weakening the protections it offers–was former award-winning journalist Gregg Takayama, joined by representatives who had been aligned with former Speaker Calvin Say’s faction in the recently ended leadership fight–Isaac Choy, Sharon Har, Linda Ichiyama, Ken Ito, Derek Kawakami, Marcus Oshiro, Jimmy Tokioka, Clift Tsuji, Ryan Yamane, and Say.
It was the new House leadership, widely presumed to be more progressive, that moved the bill forward with amendments that significantly weaken the protections it offers journalists of all stripes. It is now pending in the Senate, where its fate remains uncertain at best.
And in the latest unusual twist, an email is circulating among gun rights advocates urging them to step up to defend the First Amendment rights of journalists.
Well, if we are so adamant about our Second Amendment rights, we should show the public that the gun community cares about other rights as well. Right now HB 622 is in danger of squashing the few independent newspapers and journalists that are willing to stand up to the political powers that be. I think it would be good for us in the Second Amendment community to stand up for a free voice in our State and stop these politicians from trying to create an Orwellian 1984-type society where we have only one source of information and the party line is the only one we will be hearing….
I would hope that you would inform all our friends and families of the importance of this legislation and the need to have a strong First Amendment. It is important in my view that the State Legislature continue supporting the First Amendment and put their vote where their mouth is.
The email specifically urges support for the bill in its original form.
That sound you heard was the shattering political assumptions.