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H.R. 4382 (115th): Free Flow of Information Act of 2017

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About the bill

Should journalists be imprisoned if they refuse to divulge their sources to the federal government?

Under current law, they can be — and it’s been done before. The Free Flow of Information Act is a new House bill which would end the practice and institute a federal “shield law” for journalists.


When the government subpoenas somebody and asks for answers under oath, the person is usually required to comply — but not always. Federal law allows a few exceptions such as private information revealed between a patient and their psychotherapist, a client and their attorney, or a confessor and their priest.

Yet even though 49 of the 50 states have state-level laws protecting information shared between a journalist and their source, the federal government does not.

As a result, …

Sponsor and status

Jamie Raskin

Sponsor. Representative for Maryland's 8th congressional district. Democrat.

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Last Updated: Nov 14, 2017
Length: 10 pages
Nov 14, 2017
115th Congress (2017–2019)
Died in a previous Congress

This bill was introduced on November 14, 2017, in a previous session of Congress, but it did not receive a vote.

Although this bill was not enacted, its provisions could have become law by being included in another bill. It is common for legislative text to be introduced concurrently in multiple bills (called companion bills), re-introduced in subsequent sessions of Congress in new bills, or added to larger bills (sometimes called omnibus bills).


12 Cosponsors (7 Democrats, 5 Republicans)



Nov 14, 2017

Bills and resolutions are referred to committees which debate the bill before possibly sending it on to the whole chamber.

H.R. 4382 (115th) was a bill in the United States Congress.

A bill must be passed by both the House and Senate in identical form and then be signed by the President to become law.

Bills numbers restart every two years. That means there are other bills with the number H.R. 4382. This is the one from the 115th Congress.

This bill was introduced in the 115th Congress, which met from Jan 3, 2017 to Jan 3, 2019. Legislation not passed by the end of a Congress is cleared from the books.

How to cite this information.

We recommend the following MLA-formatted citation when using the information you see here in academic work:

“H.R. 4382 — 115th Congress: Free Flow of Information Act of 2017.” 2017. November 26, 2022 <>

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