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California Governor Vetoes Media Access Bill

In September, 1999 California Governor Gray Davis vetoed legislation that would have rescinded his predecessor's policy of barring reporters from interviewing state prisoners.

The measure was supported by the California Correctional Peace Officers' Association (CCPOA) which said that barring reporters from prison makes their jobs harder, because it gives the public the perception that they [prison guards] have something to hide.

But victims' rights groups persuaded Gov. Davis that the bill would make media darlings out of violent killers and thugs. In a message posted on his web site, Davis said he vetoed the bill because it was "inconsistent with the national trend to reduce, not expand, rights of prisoners (e.g., prohibiting them from profiting from their crimes by selling their 'stories' via book, television or movie rights)."

The bill would have restored past procedures governing media access to prisoners that worked well for 20 years before they were curtailed.

Source: San Diego Union-Tribune

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