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Sat Jan 26, 2019, 08:51 AM

HB 1074 Fails to Recognize Bloggers as Journalists, Contrary to Standing Statute

In her State of the State Address, following up on one of her few campaign promises that I welcomed, Governor Kristi Noem exhorted the Legislature to pass a “commonsense reporter shield law, protecting the right to a free and independent press.” In his effort to comply with the Governor’s demand, Representative Jon Hansen (R-25/Dell Rapids) has written a decent bill… for the 20th century.

Hansen’s House Bill 1074 seeks to provide “a privilege for journalists and newscasters” to refuse to surrender their information or their sources to the courts, grand juries, the Legislature, or any public agency with the power to slap people with contempt charges.

Alas, Hansen pulled his definition of “journalist” and “newscaster” from 1975:

(1) “Journalist,” any person who, for pay, is engaged in gathering, preparing, collecting, writing, editing, filming, taping, or photographing news for publication in or with a newspaper, magazine, news agency, press association, wire service, or other professional medium or agency that has as one of its principle functions the processing and researching of news intended for publication. The term includes any person who is an employee of, or who is otherwise affiliated for pay with, the medium or agency and any student enrolled at an accredited university, college, or technical school in this state who otherwise meets the requirements of this subdivision;

…(5) “Newscaster,” any person who, for pay, is engaged in analyzing, commenting on, or broadcasting news by radio or television. The term includes any student enrolled at an accredited university, college, or technical school in this state who meets all of the requirements of this subdivision;… [emphasis mine; HB 1074, excerpts from Section 1, as posted 2019.01.24].


Rep. Hansen loses points for using the wrong principle. In this case, to speak of main or primary functions of the journalist, we need to refer to principal functions.

Read more: http://dakotafreepress.com/2019/01/25/hb-1074-fails-to-recognize-bloggers-as-journalists-contrary-to-standing-statute/

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