live streaming

House committees banning live streaming by members

Republican members vote during a House GOP caucus meeting in Nashville on Nov. 20, 2018. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

As reported by The Tennessean’s Joel Ebert and Natalie Allison, live streaming of legislative proceedings by members is being banned in several House committees.

House Speaker Glen Casada’s office says he’s leaving the decision up to the chairs of each committee, but the policy will also extend to the House floor — and to the visitors in the gallery.

“The chairmen that are choosing to do this are choosing to do so in order to make the legislative process run more smoothly both for themselves and for the public,” Casada’s Chief of Staff Cade Cothren told the newspaper.

Commerce Chairman Timothy Hill (R-Blountville) said he was imposing the policy because he didn’t want committee members to be distracted by a colleague using social media to “prove a point.” Some members last year used social media to try to intimidate others, he said.

The change comes after a rule change pushed by Casada to eliminate speechifying on the House floor. The House Republican Caucus, which has enough members to decide new laws without the input of a single Democrat,  has also decided to close its caucus meetings to the public.

UPDATE: Statement from Casada’s Chief of Staff Cade Cothren:

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.