H. B. 2159
(By Delegates Doyle and Mahan)
[Passed March 12, 2011; in effect ninety days from passage.]
AN ACT to amend the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, by adding thereto a new section, designated §57-3-10, relating to prohibiting members of the news media from being compelled to disclose sources and certain information in legal proceedings; providing a definition; and providing exceptions thereto.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended by adding thereto a new section, designated §57-3-10, to read as follows:
ARTICLE 3. COMPETENCY OF WITNESSES.
§57-3-10. Reporters’ Privilege.
(a) “Reporter” means a person who regularly gathers, prepares, collects, photographs, records, writes, edits, reports, or publishes news or information that concerns matters of public interest for dissemination to the public for a substantial portion of the person’s livelihood, or a supervisor, or employer of that person in that capacity: Provided, That a student reporter at an accredited educational institution who meets all of the requirements of this definition, except that his or her reporting may not provide a portion of his or her livelihood, meets the definition of reporter for purposes of this section.
(b) No reporter may be compelled to:
(1) Testify in any civil, criminal, administrative or grand jury proceeding in any court in this state concerning the confidential source of any published or unpublished information obtained by the reporter in the course of the above described activities without the consent of the confidential source, unless such testimony is necessary to prevent imminent death, serious bodily injury or unjust incarceration; or
(2) Produce any information or testimony that would identify a confidential source, without the consent of the confidential source, unless such testimony or information is necessary to prevent imminent death, serious bodily injury or unjust incarceration.
(c) Nothing in this section shall be read to limit any existing constitutional protections afforded any person under the United States or West Virginia Constitutions.