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Wyoming Legislature narrowly defeats shield law
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Wyoming Legislature narrowly defeats shield law

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House of Representatives

Representative Charles Pelkey reads a paper listing of the bills being voted on the House Tuesday in Cheyenne. State lawmakers narrowly defeated introducing legislation to protect journalists' privilege Thursday.

CHEYENNE — Wyoming lawmakers fell just three votes short of introducing legislation to protect journalists' privilege Thursday evening.

Sponsored by Rep. Charles Pelkey, D-Laramie, the bill was supported by numerous members of the press and, in recent weeks, by the Wyoming Press Association. They saw the legislation as critical to ensuring the integrity of anonymous sourcing in stories and to protect whistleblowers who may be unable or unwilling to share critical and sensitive information without the cover of anonymity.

If passed, the legislation would have outlined specific protections for journalists in instances in which they might otherwise be forced to reveal their sources under threat of legal penalties.

Wyoming remains the only state in the country without a shield law.

Editor’s note: Editor Joshua Wolfson was not involved with the editing of this story because of a conflict of interest. He is a member of the Wyoming Press Association’s legislative committee.

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Politics Reporter

Nick Reynolds covers state politics and policy. A native of Central New York, he has spent his career covering governments big and small, and several Congressional campaigns. He graduated from the State University of New York at Brockport in 2015.

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While the Senate carried out its business methodically and deliberately, the House of Representatives moved its business along at a breakneck pace, passing introductory votes for handfuls of legislation sight unseen using a mechanism called the consent agenda.

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