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SB 98 – Grants News Reporters Access To Certain Areas Closed By Law Enforcement During Protests, Marches, And Rallies; Prohibits Interference With Reporters By Law Enforcement
SB 98 adds Section 409.7 to the Penal Code, allowing a duly authorized representative of any news service, online news service, newspaper, or radio or television station or network to enter certain areas closed by law enforcement at a demonstration, march, protest, or rally where individuals are engaged primarily in activity protected pursuant to the First Amendment to the United States Constitution or Article I of the California Constitution. Specifically, the bill grants news reporters access to closed areas surrounding any emergency field command post or any other command post, or behind an established police line or rolling closure.
SB 98 also prohibits a peace officer or other law enforcement officer from intentionally assaulting, interfering with, or obstructing the news representative who is gathering, receiving, or processing information for communication to the public.
SB 98 further provides that a duly authorized news representative shall not be cited for the failure to disperse, a violation of a curfew, or a violation of Penal Code Section 148(a)(1) (which prohibits willfully resisting, delaying, or obstructing any public officer, peace officer, or an emergency medical technician) for gathering, receiving, or processing information.
Finally, SB 98 provides that, if a news representative is detained by a peace officer or other law enforcement officer, that representative shall be permitted to contact a supervisory officer immediately for the purpose of challenging the detention, unless circumstances make it impossible to do so.
(SB 98 adds Section 409.7 to the Penal Code.)