STAND. COM. REP. NO. 724-08
RE: H.B. No. 2557
Honorable Calvin K.Y. Say
Speaker, House of Representatives
Twenty-Fourth State Legislature
Regular Session of 2008
State of Hawaii
Your Committee on Judiciary, to which was referred H.B. No. 2557 entitled:
"A BILL FOR AN ACT RELATING TO EVIDENCE,"
begs leave to report as follows:
The purpose of this bill is to establish a limited privilege for persons involved in news gathering and reporting against compelled disclosure of sources and unpublished information to a legislative, executive, or judicial officer or body, or to any other person with the power to compel testimony.
The League of Women Voters of Hawaii, Honolulu Community Media Council, and several concerned individuals supported this bill. The Screen Actors Guild Hawaii Branch, American Federation of Musicians, and Local 677 supported the intent of this measure. The Society of Professional Journalists – Hawaii Chapter and several concerned individuals supported this measure with amendments. The Judiciary and Department of the Prosecuting Attorney of the City and County of Honolulu opposed this bill. The Department of the Attorney General and several concerned individuals submitted comments.
Your Committee has amended this bill by:
(1) Requiring that a journalist or newscaster not employed by a media organization be at least professionally associated with such an organization;
(2) Clarifying that the limited privilege granted to journalists and newscasters by this measure may also be claimed by other persons who can credibly establish that they were involved in the collection of news or information of substantial public interest for dissemination to the general public;
(3) Expanding the exceptions to the limited privilege established by this measure to include situations in which a source has consented to disclosure, and in which a person seeking disclosure in civil litigation can show clear and convincing evidence that the source or information sought is unavailable despite exhaustion of all reasonable alternative sources, noncumulative, and necessary and relevant to a claim or defense asserted; and
(4) Clarifying that the prohibition against fines and imprisonment, applies to all persons who qualify for the privilege.
As affirmed by the record of votes of the members of your Committee on Judiciary that is attached to this report, your Committee is in accord with the intent and purpose of H.B. No. 2557, as amended herein, and recommends that it pass Second Reading in the form attached hereto as H.B. No. 2557, H.D. 1, and be placed on the calendar for Third Reading.
Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members of the Committee on Judiciary,
TOMMY WATERS, Chair