Media covering the State Senate will be moved off the senate floor, down by the senators, to a balcony one level up. Senate President Ron Richard (R-Joplin) said the Senate voted 26-4 today to move the press corps.
“The Senate floor, that’s our space not your space,” said Richard.
Senator Jill Schupp (D-Creve Coeur) disagreed.
“Well, I guess that anything they hear they’re entitled to tweet. This is a public spot,” said Schupp.
Schupp was one of four Democrats who voted against the resolution.
Richard initially stated that the table where the press sits is needed for staff, but he later said a reporter tweeted last year about a private conversation senators were having.
“When the press violated the trust by tweeting of senators on the floor in discussion and negotiation and sent that out, I thought that was a breach of your responsibility. I don’t remember the press having a seat on the Senate, so I took it upon myself and you will no longer be on the Senate floor,” said Richard.
“I’ve tried to be respectful. It’s not like I’m turning you away. I understand that’s there’s social media making me look like some of the ladies at the journalism school turning away the press. It is what it is. I don’t think that’s the case,” said Richard.
Mizzou communications professor Melissa Click blocked reporters’ access during campus protests last fall.
Richard said accommodations will be made for press with disabilities. Schupp tried to offer an amendment to include accommodations for media in the resolution but Richard said he would have it defeated.
The move takes effect March 29.