Friday, April 26, 2013


Sen. Hee’s “shield law” worse than no shield law—why would he do that?

by Larry Geller

Sen. Laura Thielen wrote a clear analysis of the current condition of HB622 (media shield law), a bill which, if passed, will be worse than no shield law at all.

Unfortunately, in my opinion, the Bill specifically isolates modern journalists and deprives them of even common law protections against having their sources revealed.

How?  Because it eliminates our current law, and replaces it with a new law that would over-ride common law protections for journalists.

[Sen. Laura Thielen, (No) Shield Law Passes Conference – Will Limit Our News Sources, 4/26/2013]

Hawaii’s shield law, which was viewed as one of the best in the nation, would have been continued by the simple language of the original HB622.

But then “politically powerful senator” Hee altered it to eliminate protections for all except a narrow class of journalists.

Reporters publishing in the Honolulu Weekly, for example, would not be protected under the proposed law, and would, in fact, lose the common law protections they would still have were HB622 to fail. Why? Because the Weekly is free publication.

Sen. Hee threw bloggers and other non-traditional journalists under the bus and ran them over. Instead of protection that respects the changes in newsgathering that the Internet has brought, should HB622 succeed they will lose even the protection they would have had in the absence of any shield law, as Sen. Thielen has described.

Sorry Ian Lind and others, you will be hung out to dry for the high quality investigative reporting you do.


Note that Ian posted an investigation of Sen. Hee in an article posted on May 21, 2011:  Politically powerful state senator files false ethics reports, and then this blog followed up with complaints. Ian also followed with Senator Hee escapes ethics penalties despite commission concerns (, 10/22/11).

Civil Beat, another online news source, reported on Ian’s investigation here, and included Sen. Hee in their list of legislators who were fined for failure to file disclosure reports on time in 2012.

I’m not saying there is any connection between these articles and the gutting of HB622, please form your own conclusions.


All of this reflects poorly on the Democratic Party.

Classic example of "Reverse Negotiation". Rhoads opens the discussion to extend an existing statute and Hee negotiates it into a worse deal than the original one. But that's not the funny part. The funny part is that Hee keeps getting re-elected.

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