I thank the gentleman for yielding. I have the greatest respect for the ranking member, my friend, Mr. Smith from Texas, and I appreciate his legal analysis of this legislation. But I do rise in support of the Free Flow of Information Act.

This act is a Federal shield law that would protect the identities of reporters' confidential sources. By protecting the sources of reporters, we protect the public interest and the free flow of information to the public. Forty-nine States and D.C. have some form of protection for reporters' confidential sources, but there is no Federal standard in place. This lack of consistency actually weakens State shield laws.

Madam Speaker, if reporters back in Texas are worried about reporting the whole story to the public because someone might slap a subpoena in their face, the public suffers. Whistleblowers and other potential sources are more hesitant to come forward with information.

Even though I am a former prosecutor, prosecutors should not make their criminal cases based upon confidential information that is given to reporters by forcing those reporters before grand juries to reveal the names of those sources.

This bill protects the first amendment; in fact, it encourages the first amendment, while making appropriate exceptions for some serious criminal investigations.

I want to thank my colleague from Virginia for introducing this important piece of legislation that supports the first amendment provision of a free press and encourages free speech by citizens. Therefore I urge the adoption of this legislation.