Bill would protect Calif. reporters’ phone records

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(AP Photo)

(AP Photo)

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Government agencies would be required to give journalists five days’ notice before they issue subpoenas to a third-party company for telephone records under a bill being introduced in the California Legislature.

Democratic state Sen. Ted Lieu of Torrance announced Thursday that he would seek the measure to give greater protection for newsgathering operations.

He acted after it was disclosed that the U.S. Department of Justice had retrieved the logs from 20 business and personal telephone lines of journalists employed by The Associated Press.

The early warning requirement would give newsgathering organizations time to fight the subpoenas in court. But Lieu’s bill would be unlikely to stop federal government agencies, which could seek the records through the federal courts.

Lieu plans to amend the notice requirement into an existing bill, SB558.

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