An open letter to Sen. Butler, Sen. Padilla.
  1. United States
  2. Calif.
  3. Letter

An Open Letter

To: Sen. Butler, Sen. Padilla

From: A verified voter in Los Angeles, CA

April 30

I’m writing to ask the Senator to please co-sponsor and push to pass S. 2074, the PRESS (or the Protect Reporters from Exploitative State Spying) Act. It has already passed in the House with wide bipartisan support. The PRESS Act would accomplish two important things. First, it would make it illegal for the government to force journalists to reveal their sources, notes, or other materials related to their reporting. Second, it would bar the government from spying on reporters’ phone records or internet search histories if they refuse to comply with such requests. Almost all states, and DC, have laws that shield journalists to some extent from being forced to hand over their files for use in criminal prosecutions or private lawsuits. But the PRESS Act, the strongest federal shield law ever proposed, would strengthen those protections and standardize them nationwide. Stronger protection is needed because existing laws have failed to protect journalists against abuse from the three most recent past presidential administrations. According to the Electronic Frontier Foundation, “Federal law enforcement officials improperly acquired reporters’ phone records on numerous occasions since 2004, under both Democratic and Republican administrations. At a time when the former president is calling for journalists to be jailed and referring to the press as the “enemy of the people,” it’s critical that we protect this pillar of our democracy. Thanks.

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