In other words, strike any portion of this legislation that would place any employment or financial consideration from the definition of a "COVERED PERSON". Also strike any thing that stipulates the frequency with which a "COVERED PERSON" writes or publishes or that such person must be employed or supervised by anyone.
As a Internet professional and the author of several political opinion web sites, I deserve the same right to protection for anything I or any other on line writer may choose to publish regardless of any financial consideration being given for my work. Should I, in my publications of articles, attract the attention of someone with sensitive information who wishes to make that public, and if I believe this information is of such a nature that the public interest is served by publishing this information, your legislation would put me in the position of choosing between exercising my constitutional rights and my and/or my sources safety. Were this exact same information given to a "paid journalist" for publication, that person would be protected for publication of the EXACT same information with protections for having done so.
This creates a situation where I am denied the equal protection of the law for engaging in the same freedom of speech guaranteed to all citizens, paid or not.
Not only is this not constitutional, this constitutes a prior restraint on all forms of journalism based on financial gain and full-time employment. It does not serve the public interest to limit thier source of information only to paid media, which is often controlled by special interests with biased editorial policies.
The bill must not be permitted to move forward as it is written.
Includes Action Issue:
Demand re-write of HB 985 to protect all writers.