Cade Cothren, chief of staff for Tennessee House Speaker Glen Casada, clarified in a statement today that only someone who “actively violates House policy by disrupting the legislative process” would be removed from a legislative committee meeting.
The full statement:
“House session and committee hearings are and will continue to be shown on the General Assembly’s website and on public television stations across the state. If someone actively violates House policy by disrupting the legislative process — through unruly live-streaming, blatant disregard for decorum, or disrespect of members or the public — they will be removed from the area. Legislators, stakeholders, and those visiting to see government in action must be allowed to do work and enjoy their time without unneeded and senseless disruption. Speaker Casada fully supports his chairmen in their decisions to run their committees as they best see fit.”
Cothren’s clarification came after The Tennessean reported on announcements yesterday in several House committee and subcommittee meetings that live-streaming of their meetings would not be allowed, or advance permission would have to be granted.
In some cases, the chairmen said this policy would apply to lawmakers, but in other cases it was suggested it applied to anyone in the room, including members of the public.
I explain in this earlier post an AG opinion that concludes that the public cannot be banned from taking photos or video in a public meeting based on the Tennessee Constitution unless they are disrupting the meeting.
Certainly, the application of this policy — what is determined to be unruly or disruptive behavior — will be worth watching. But for now, the new House of Representatives have sent out a warning.