« Ind. Courts - Tippecanoe County Courthouse in need of repairs | Main | Ind. Gov't. - More on Lake Michigan shorefront property rights »

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Ind. Gov't. - Kansas statehuse reporter "opens a closed meeting by declaring it so"

Interesting National Journal story by Ron Fournier. It begins:

June 9, 2015 In the middle of a budget stalemate in the middle of the country, Associated Press correspondent John Hanna passes a closed conference room en route to his basement office in the Kansas Statehouse. Glancing through a door window, Hanna sees Gov. Sam Brownback's budget director addressing 27 Republican lawmakers.

That's interesting, Hanna tells himself—the caucus was not publicly scheduled, as would be the custom in Kansas, and the state legislature is struggling to fix an $800 million deficit mostly caused by Brownback's 2012-2013 tax cuts. A long-awaited debate on the House floor was just canceled. Why are they meeting in secret? Hanna opens the door, walks in, and stands against a wall.

"This is a private meeting," one lawmaker barks. "You weren't invited."

Hanna crosses his arms. "I know that," he says, nodding at the Brownback aide, Shawn Sullivan, "but I'd like to hear what he has to say." After a few minutes of awkward silence, Budget Committee Chairman Marvin Kleeb shrugs. "It's OK," he says. "He can stay."

Just like that, a private meeting was made public. No lawyers. No protests. No big scene. No indignant editorials or begging from the journalist community. Just one reporter reminding the government who's in charge of his beat: "I'd like to hear what he has to say."

Posted by Marcia Oddi on June 11, 2015 11:27 AM
Posted to Indiana Government