Step 1: Make all the House GOP meetings secret

Rep. Chris Todd (R-Jackson) makes the motion to close all House Republican Caucus meetings to the public and the press on Nov. 24, 2020. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

Before the House Republican Caucus could go about electing its leaders this week, Rep. Chris Todd of Jackson stood to make a motion for all further GOP meetings to be closed to the public and the media.

There was no debate about the need for blanket secrecy. And fittingly, the members took a vote via secret ballot. The motion passed 56-11.

The question of whether to keep caucus meetings open has been discussed within the House GOP for years. When they were in the minority, Republicans complained bitterly that the media ignored their meetings and pronouncements. Once they gained a majority, however, members quickly moved to shut down access. Matters have been complicated by Republicans gaining a supermajority in the chamber, because it means any caucus decision could easily carry over as the action of the House as a whole.

Senate Republican Caucus rules require meetings featuring the equivalent of a quorum to be open to the public.

12 Responses to Step 1: Make all the House GOP meetings secret

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    Not that Stuart guy says:

    It figures. Yet another attack on the integrity of our government by the supermajority, but their status as the supermajority, the lack of backbone-possessing local media in their home districts calling them to account, and a lack of serious opposition by the other party pretty much insulates them from any consequences.

    My how times change. I remember well when, in the minority, the TN GOP complained endlessly about a lack of media converge of their ideas.

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    Leeann C says:

    The caucus isn’t doing anything inappropriate here. All legislative committees and the session are available through the website for those interested. I doubt many take advantage. No real news here…go back to Thanksgiving preparations!

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    Don says:

    A government of free people do NOT hide (except State Secrets as may be logically needed) deliberations from the public. “Open for all to see” should always be the default position. Votes, by the legislature, should also be open to the public. One of many problems with “closed meetings” is that the decisions are already made BEFORE the public has an opportunity to make input. Open up the forum to the public for better, more accountable governance.

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    cindy s says:

    if the media would present the facts, I doubt this would be a topic of discussion. Unfortunately, too much time is spent addressing “fake news” and explaining the facts/truth. We need to let the leaders focus on the solutions and encourage those who continually sow divisiveness to use this energy to assist
    with solutions.

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    James White says:

    Foul

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    Sophronia Mason says:

    Oh NO, NO, NO! I dont think so. WE, the people, are fed up with all of you and your lies, deceit and subversion. WHY WOULD YOU THINK THIS IS A GOOD IDEA? WHAT ARE YOU WANTING HID? It is our BUSINESS, you cant lick us out.

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      Stuart I. Anderson says:

      This is a good idea because it gives the members of the Republican caucus a chance to map out political strategy which by its very nature needs to be kept confidential among the members. No Sophronia, in fact, what members of the Republican caucus discuss among themselves is none of your business and the Republicans have every right to kick you out.

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    David Collins says:

    Totally understandable. If you belonged to an organization whose members habitually come up with some of the dumbest ideas imaginable and collectively have no clue how to govern, well, you would not want the general public to see it either. You would do exactly what this bunch is doing–Hide!

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    Stuart I. Anderson says:

    Another nothingburger that the tempest in a teapot creators can complain about. I see no reason why meetings of the group that is doing such an excellent job governing this state during which political strategy is discussed need be open to the public. It is sufficient that meetings of both houses of the General Assembly and its committees are open to the public. There are certain things that can appropriately be private like caucus meetings should the members choose to make it so.

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    Taxpayer #314 says:

    If the public would just go away and let the republicans run the country and the states as they see fit, those republicans would really, really appreciate it. Never mind that the entire country has seen over the past four years how the GOP operates in the weeds and in the gutters and will bend or break any rules or norms to get what they want and will blindly follow a smooth talking criminal into the abyss. And they just got thrown out of office for practicing exactly this type of unethical tactics. Yeah, nothing to see here…just move along. More dirty tricks from the GOP, they just refuse to learn.

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    Taxpayer #314 says:

    This is what the KKK has always done, this is what the “Militia Groups” do…
    They meet in secrete. Ask yourself WHY?

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