The Republican Caucus in the Tennessee House of Representatives has decided to close their meetings to the press.
This means that Tennesseans will now be effectively shut out of an important part of the legislative process.
The GOP Caucus voted Tuesday afternoon to shift from what they have traditionally done — allow reporters to attend and report on what takes place in the party meetings. This is important because Republicans are the supermajority, and they could essentially decide whether to kill or support a measure even before they vote on it on the House floor.
Rep. Jeremy Faison, the caucus chairman, says this new rule is standard in legislatures across the country and that leadership will talk to reporters after each meeting to answer questions.
“Our caucus has looked into it, has talked to other people,” Faison told reporters.
Meanwhile, the Senate GOP Caucus will continue to keep their meetings open, per the Senate rules.
Last year, when Republicans were deciding whether to further support embattled former House Speaker Glen Casada, the caucus decided to ban reporters from the most important votes. Casada ended up stepping down from his leadership position after receiving a vote of no confidence from his colleagues.