OPINION: Bill undermines First Amendment

Wheeler denies he is seeking revenge against the media.

Under a bill sponsored by Sen. Harold "Potch" Wheeler, R-Larwill, media organizations could soon lose their permanent work spaces at the Statehouse.

"This building is a public building. It should be used for public use only," Wheeler said.

Currently, the associated press, newspapers and broadcast stations work in the basement of the Capitol. This bill would virtually prohibit them from having these work spaces and impair the media's ability to adequately cover state news.

This bill undermines our First Amendment.

Wheeler denies he is seeking revenge against the media for past stories about him, but his actions seem to contradict his words. Why move the media out? Who gets the space? How will media organizations cover state news?

Wheeler has been championing the cause of impairing the media since a bill he sponsored a few years ago proposed charging media organizations rent for these work spaces. With that bill shot down, he has decided to rid the media from the building.

This senator is not seeking re-election this year. Perhaps he can use his newly found free time to read the Bill of Rights. Media organizations are protected under the First Amendment and can not be relocated just because a senator wants to take a parting shot at them on his way out of office.


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