Edited release
01/25/24

Bleeding Heartland journalist Laura Belin finally has her press credentials.

KCJJ previously reported that Belin has sought credentials prior to every legislative session since 2019.  In doing so, she has detailed how her independent online news site meets the House’s published requirements for press access. Belin is also now the Statehouse reporter for KHOI Radio in Ames.

Despite those facts, the House Chief Clerk has denied each of Belin’s requests. Belin’s attorneys say the denials have occurred amidst a series of shifting requirements, with her initially denied for being “not media,” then denied for being “nontraditional” media, and this year denied without any explanation.

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After the filing of a federal lawsuit last week on Belin’s behalf against Iowa House Chief Clerk Meghan Nelson for failing to provide access, Belin was informed that she is credentialed as of Wednesday.

In a release from the Institute for Free Speech, senior attorney Charles Miller said the sudden change of heart quote, “sends an unmistakable message that censorship of journalists is unacceptable…the House’s belated decision to grant her credentials is a welcome one, albeit one that should have been made in 2019.”

Attorney Courtney Corbello, also with the Institute for Free Speech, said “This case underscores the First Amendment principle that public officials cannot manipulate press credential policies to play favorites or suppress critical coverage.”


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