Missouri's highest court hears arguments to stop Senate committees from controlling recordings
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Missouri's highest court hears arguments to stop Senate committees from controlling recordings

Date: February 24, 2016
By: Jill Ornitz
State Capitol Bureau

Intro: 
Missouri's highest court heard a case brought forward by an advocacy group to stop the Senate from controlling their ability to record committee hearings.
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Wrap: Progress Missouri's case before the Missouri Supreme Court argued that the Senate violates the state's open meeting laws by creating rules that have stopped them from being able to record committee hearings.

Jeremiah Morgan served as council for the Senate. He said recording restrictions do not infringe upon First Amendment rights.

Actuality:  MORGANB.WAV
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Description: "Their argument however is that, and it took a little while to get to this, that this was their argument, that because some can record, some media can record and some can't, that that is, therefore, a violation of the Consitution. Acutally, it's not."

Morgan also told the court that Missouri's recording restrictions were modeled after Congressional recording standards.

Reporting from the state Capitol, I'm Jill Ornitz.

Intro: 
Legal council representing the Missouri Senate told the state's Supreme Court that the legislative body has the right to determine who can record committee hearings.
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Wrap: Senate council Jeremiah Morgan told the court the Senate's ability to decide who can record committee hearings does not deal with First Amendment rights or violate the state's open meeting laws.

Advocacy group Progress Missouri argued the Senate unfairly stops its members from recording public meetings. The group's president, Laura Swinford, said they don't have the same problems dealing with the House.

Actuality:  SWINFORD.WAV
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Description: "You know, we really haven't. It's a much easier experience on that side of the chamber. Occassionally, we might get asked to move to one side of the room or the other, but in general, they've been much more accomodating."

Morgan said the Senate reserves the right to determine its own rules for allowing recordings within committee hearings.

Reporting from the state Capitol, I'm Jill Ornitz.

Intro: 
The Missouri Senate has maintained they have the right to dictate who can record public committee meetings before the state Supreme Court.
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Wrap: A state advocacy group has sued the Missouri Senate for infringing upon First Amendment rights and state open meeting laws because their staff has not been allowed to record committee hearings in the past.

Senate council Jeremiah Morgan told the court that there is no Constitutional right to record committee hearings.

Actuality:  MORGANA.WAV
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Description: "There is no dispute that there is no independent right to record. As many states and many courts have concluded, there is no independent right to record."
Morgan also told the court that the Senate maintains the right to determine its own recording rules and procedures.

Reporting from the state Capitol, I'm Jill Ornitz.

Intro: 
An advocacy group has sued the Missouri Senate to allow them to record public committee hearings without asking for permission.
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Wrap: Progress Missouri told the Missouri Supreme Court the Senate is violating state public meeting laws and the First Amendment because their staff has been kicked out of committee hearings for recording them.

Progress Missouri council Christopher Grant told reporters the group should not be required to join the statehouse press corps in order to receive the same recording privileges as the media outlets in the press corps.

Actuality:  GRANTA.WAV
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Description: "I don't think Progress Missouri or anyone else should have to join a private organization to exercise their right under the Sunshine Law."
Council for the Senate told the court the legislative body maintains a right to determine the operating procedures for their own committee meetings.

Reporting from the state Capitol, I'm Jill Ornitz.


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