DENVER (AP) – Colorado lawmakers delayed a vote Wednesday on a bill to increase legal protections for reporters and their sources in Colorado.
The bill from Colorado Springs Republican Sen. Bernie Herpin would make it harder for courts to compel reporters to reveal sources by raising legal standards to enforce subpoenas.
Herpin said he brought the proposal forward because of the case of New York-based Fox News reporter Jana Winter, who was pressured to divulge who gave her information about the 2012 Aurora theater shootings.
A New York court ruled in December that Winter was protected by that state’s shield law, which is considered one of the strongest in the nation.
The Colorado Legislature’s Senate Judiciary Committee heard the bill Wednesday, but lawmakers wanted more time to deliberate and will vote at a later date.
The hearing included a statement from Winter that was read by Herpin.
Winter called Herpin’s proposal “long overdue” in Colorado.
“No journalist should have to go through what I did, simply for doing his or her job and working to protect the public’s right to know,” Winter said in the statement.
Winter reported that James Holmes, the suspect in the suburban Denver theater shootings, had mailed a notebook to a psychiatrist depicting violence.
Holmes’ lawyers tried to get Winter to name the sources who gave her that information. During that time, Winter said sources “were suddenly unwilling to return my calls.”
Winter said she got harassing phone calls and threatening Internet postings.
“My family and I were deeply distressed,” she said.
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