Nebraska lawmakers may bar media from closed-door meetings

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Posted at 6:37 PM, Jan 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-12 19:37:57-05

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — A decades-old rule designed to promote transparency and accountability in the Nebraska Legislature could be in jeopardy.

A proposed rule change would bar reporters from otherwise private “executive sessions” of legislative committees, where lawmakers discuss and vote on bills.

The sessions are closed to the general public, but legislative rules allow reporters to attend and report what happened.

Sen. Dan Hughes, of Venango, says he introduced the measure after getting quoted several years ago in what he believed to be a private, frank discussion with fellow lawmakers.

Free-speech advocates and members of the news media say changing the rule would undermine public trust and make it more difficult for journalists to report accurately on legislative issues.