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Senate Leaves Press Credentials Undisturbed

By Susan Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

MONTGOMERY—After the vote and swearing in for President Pro Temp and Secretary, the Senate took a two-hour recess to continue discussing the proposed rules, as well as the proposed joint rules of the Senate and House. When they reconvened, the language concerning press credentials had been removed.

Senator Arthur Orr (R-Decatur) was in charge of collecting and assembling all of the new rules for the Senate. He said that there were many concerns among the members about what defining a journalist might lead to in the future.

Orr said, “I would think that the matter would probably be left up to the Secretary and the Clerk because they have control over the chambers and who is allowed in the chambers. The past practice has been that so that is the way we left it.”

The proposed language was:

“1. A media representative shall be admitted to the floors of the House or Senate or allowed press privileges if the person is a salaried staff correspondent, reporter, or photographer employed by any of the following:

a. The news department of a …federally licensed television or radio station, or the news department of a network providing coverage to television and radio stations.

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b. A newspaper of general circulation providing print or online editions for the dissemination of news of a general character, which has a bona fide subscription list of paying subscribers, and has been established, printed, and published at regular intervals.

c. A wire service providing news service to newspapers, television, or radio stations as referred to above.

d. Internet news services and bloggers associated with any of the previously listed categories.

2. Applicants seeking press credentials are required to submit documentation from their employer certifying that they are engaged primarily in reporting the sessions of the legislature.

The applicant must also certify that, with the exception of the Alabama Press Association and the Alabama Broadcasters Association, and the exception of receiving advertising revenue, they have no affiliation with any person, firm, corporation, association, or political party that attempts to influence legislative issues or lobby members of the Alabama Legislature.

3. Applicants unable to comply with the aforementioned certification requirement will not be issued legislative press credentials, but will still be free to cover sessions of the Alabama Legislature from the public galleries located on the sixth and eighth floors.

Any person who is discovered to have misrepresented themselves to obtain legislative press credentials will have their credentials denied or revoked.”

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