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Wyoming "shield law" bill dies without a reading

The State of Wyoming
The Wyoming Capitol Building in Cheyenne. A shield law for Wyoming journalists advanced out of committee during the Wyoming Legislature's 2023 General Session but died without a reading on the House floor.

Wyoming will remain one of just two states without a shield law. A bill aiming to give Wyoming just such a law died last week, alongside dozens of other House bills that missed the deadline to be heard.

In states with a shield law, a journalist's news gathering materials — notes, interviews, recordings — are considered privileged. That means a court can't force the reporter to reveal their anonymous sources.

But Wyoming doesn’t have a shield law, so if a journalist refuses to reveal their sources to a court, that court could hold them in contempt and throw them in jail.

House Bill 91 would have changed that and given Wyoming a shield law. The bill passed out of committee with an 8-1 vote. But it was never introduced on the House floor, and now it's missed the deadline to do so.

This is the second time a proposed shield law has been knocked down. In 2021, a similar bill made it all the way through the House but died in a Senate committee.

Jeff is a part-time reporter for Wyoming Public Media, as well as the owner and editor of the Laramie Reporter, a free online news source providing in-depth and investigative coverage of local events and trends.
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