Kansas Senate approves state shield bill

The Kansas Senate has voted in favor of a state shield law that protects journalists from the forced disclosure of private newsgathering materials, The Associated Press reported.

The bill will now go to the state House for consideration. If enacted, it would protect confidential sources and unpublished notes.

A party seeking newsgathering materials would be required to satisfy a three-part test to prove the material is relevant to the controversy for which its disclosure was sought, could not be obtained by alternate means and is of a "compelling interest." Attorney fees could be awarded to either side if a court found one had acted in bad faith.

Kansas Press Association Executive Director Doug Anstaett said the shield legislation effort in Kansas began in 2002.

"We have in the past faced stiff opposition,” Anstaett said. “This year, we worked closely with a highly respected attorney in the Legislature, Sen. Terry Bruce of Hutchinson, and we were able to come up with language that resolved some of the opposition’s objections without doing harm to our chief arguments."

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