MPR’s Tom Scheck calls out attention to this little piece of constitutional savagery as described in the
Toronto Toldedo Blade.
A Michigan lawmaker crafted a bill that requires reporters to be registered.
Says the columnist:
“I mainly just wanted to stimulate discussion,” he told me. “I didn’t think the bill would be likely to pass, but I thought I’d put it out there and if there was any support from your profession, we’d move forward. Heck, I thought it might be helpful to legitimate journalists,” he said.
Indeed, he made some valid points. “There are fewer legitimate reporters who cover the legislature all the time. I see stuff being written by people I never heard of, and I don’t know whether they have any credentials.
“You have bloggers and editorial writers who write about what we are doing who never come up here and have no idea what’s going on. If I need a plumber, I want one who has credentials and who is licensed by the state.”
So, he reasoned, why not reporters? His bill would set up a governor-appointed board to determine who could be a Michigan Registered Reporter. According to his specifications, successful candidates would have to show that they had a journalism degree, three years of experience, or other qualifications, including letters from already sanctioned reporters.
The columnist — an ombudsman — points out the bill also requires registered reporters to be of good moral character.