Leadership in the Missouri House Republican Caucus has decided to end the practice of the chamber’s committees meeting outside the Capitol. Speaker John Diehl, Junior, (R-Town and Country) said leadership informed the caucus of that decision this morning.

House Speaker John Diehl, Junior (photo courtesy; Tim Bommel, Missouri House Communications)

House Speaker John Diehl, Junior (photo courtesy; Tim Bommel, Missouri House Communications)

“It was my decision,” Diehl said, adding that he had reached it after consulting with the leadership team elected by the caucus.

The House Committee on Telecommunications held a hearing last night at the Jefferson City Country Club, but the Utility Infrastructure Committee hearing that had been scheduled for tonight at the Country Club has been rescheduled to take place in the Capitol. There will also not be a meal served: the Missouri Energy Development Association had been set to pay for the meal at that hearing.

Diehl reiterated that the Utility Infrastructure Committee chairman, Lyndall Fraker (R-Marshfield), did nothing outside the rules that existed prior to today’s change.

“Representative Fraker’s followed all the rules and all the ethics procedures and all that,” Diehl said, “but after kind of really analyzing what the purpose of a committee meeting is, and that’s to discuss public business, that’s accessible to the public, there’s no reason that can’t be done here in the building. Going forward that’s how we’re going to handle things.”

The Association will still make an informational presentation. Diehl says that subject matter is important, and something the House will spend a lot of time on in this session and next.

“It was a committee meeting to provide overview to some members particularly on coal policy and some of the federal regulations that are coming down, and how that impacts our utilities and ultimately how it’s going to result in higher rates for the residents for the state of Missouri.”

Diehl had suggested earlier this week that such a change could be coming, and said this is just the latest change his leadership team has made to how the House will operate and more could be coming.

“We just redid our entire committee structure, we just got rid of a whole subset of issue development committees. We’ve looked at this decision. There are other things there are going to be looking at as we go throughout the year and they come up,” said Diehl.