Mr. Speaker, The Free Flow of Information Act helps ensure that our press remains free. Our Constitution provides for a free press in the first amendment. The first amendment is first for a reason. It is the most important. Without the first amendment freedom of press, speech, religion and assembly, all the rest of the amendments are meaningless. A free press provides for a free flow of information.

   I agree with the doctrine: a free press will ensure a fair press. The president and publisher of the Houston Chronicle, Jack Sweeney, said today: "Journalists should be the last resort, not the first stop for civil litigants and prosecutors attempting to obtain the identity of confidential sources. This bill would protect the public's right to know, while at the same time honoring the public interest in having reporters testify in certain circumstances." 

   This bill really does not create a new special protection. It gives journalists the protection that is already afforded to them in 49 States which protect the confidentiality of reporters' sources. Federal protection is long overdue.

   Mr. Speaker, I gladly cosponsor this bill, and that's just the way it is.