Montana Legislators Vote Against Restricting Media Photos

Bill would have restricted publishing fatal accident photographs on social media until the victims' next of kin is notified

By Associated Press

HELENA — A Montana legislative panel has voted against restricting the news media’s publication of fatal accident photographs on social media until the victims’ next of kin is notified.

The House Judiciary Committee voted 12-7 Monday against the bill by Democratic Rep. Amanda Curtis.

The committee tabled the measure, meaning it could be revived at a later date.

Opponents said it was an unconstitutional restriction of freedom of the press.

Republican Rep. Barry Usher said the legislation does not prevent individuals from posting such photographs, and that social media is beyond the state Legislature’s control.

Supporters said they wanted to it to pass even if the legislation was unconstitutional.

Committee chairman Alan Doane, a Bloomfield Republican, says it would teach the news media “some common decency.”

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