Politics & Government

S.C. lawmaker proposes registry for journalists

South Carolina State House
South Carolina State House tglantz@thestate.com

State Rep. Mike Pitts, R-Laurens, filed a bill Tuesday in the S.C. House to establish a “responsible journalism registry” to be operated by the S.C. secretary of state.

Details of the proposal were not available Tuesday, only a summary.

That summary says the bill would “establish requirements for persons before working as a journalist for a media outlet and for media outlets before hiring a journalist.” The summary also includes registration fees, and sets fines and criminal penalties for violations.

The proposed registry “is ridiculous and totally unconstitutional,” said Bill Rogers, executive director of the S.C. Press Association. The State newspaper is a member of the Press Association.

The government cannot require journalists to register, Rogers said, citing the First Amendment to the Bill of Rights, which ensures freedom of the press.

Cassie Cope: 803-771-8657, @cassielcope