Nebraska Legislature Debates Whether to Exclude Media From Closed Sessions

A Nebraska state senator wants to ban news media from some sessions at the Nebraska State Capitol.

State Senator Dan Hughes says he's concerned about lawmaker's words being taken out of context in closed and executive sessions.

"I have, whenever there is press in the room, I have held back. I have not put forth my best arguments to craft the best possible legislation that we can in our process and that’s very unfortunate," Hughes said.

Senator Hughes represents Nebraska Legislative District 44 in Southwest Nebraska. 

The rule allowing news media in began with Nebraska U.S. Senator George Norris, who believed closed-door conference committees were a corrupting force in U.S. politics. Norris served as a U.S. Senator for Nebraska from 1913 to 1943 as a Republican and later as an Independent. 

During the debate Tuesday in the Rules Committee, Senator Hughes said there used to be a gentlemen’s agreement in closed sessions, in which elected officials would not be quoted without permission. 

This measure is opposed by the Nebraska Broadcasters Association.

(Photo by WOWT 6 News)

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