Weekly notice of House pre-meetings will help the public

The schedule for Tennessee House pre-meetings will now be announced weekly on the General Assembly’s website, as well as posted on hallway bulletin boards at Legislative Plaza — a significant move that will allow the public and journalists to know when and where the meetings occur if they want to attend.

Posted notice of pre-meetings, Bill Review, at Legislative Plaza

Pre-meetings, also called Committee Bill Review, are held in lawmaker conference rooms, which do not have equipment for live-streaming.  Though more informal than regular committee and subcommittee meetings, which are live-streamed and recorded, lawmakers, lobbyists and other government officials can discuss significant information about proposed legislation in the pre-meetings.

You can find the schedule for this week’s pre-meetings on House page of the website under House Links, “Committee Bill Review”.

The previous practice was to announce at the first of the session the standing times for the pre-meetings, but as reported by The Tennessean, sometimes there are snafus. Last week, the House Transportation Subcommittee held its pre-meeting on Wednesday instead of Tuesday, its regular time, according to the newspaper. Although the delay may have been related to President’s Day day off on Monday, no notice to the public had been given of the change.

House Speaker Beth Harwell, R-Nashville, initiated the new practice of compiling and posting the pre-meeting schedule each week.

“We’ve been trying to find the best way to do this,” Kara Owen, a spokeswoman for Harwell, told the Tennessean.

See Tennessean story: House Speaker Beth Harwell: Pre-meetings list to be public

What do you think?