Free Press

Hawaii State Senator Guts Journalism Shield Law

Sen. Hee doesn't much care for the free press


Throughout the session, Hee kept his fellow Senate Judiciary Committee members in the dark about details of new bill drafts and told them to vote without seeing the drafts. The media also was kept from viewing the drafts even after the drafts had been voted on.

"This is a statute that benefits a limited group of people and also the public — but it is for journalists — and to not allow or permit the journalists to participate in the process is outrageous," said Jeff Portnoy, a media attorney representing the Hawaii Shield Bill Coalition made up of 22 news outlets. "We were given zero input, the hearing was a joke, it was intimidating. And so subsequent to that, we sent communication to various legislators telling them it was unacceptable."