Special Session gives media a trial run on new House Chamber accommodations

For the last few weeks, members of the media have been working with House leadership on the media accommodation area of the House chambers. I’m not sure what precipitated the discussion but have been privileged to some of it. At KPA’s offering, we were able to survey other state press associations on how their state legislature makes space available for media members covering the legislature.

It appears an agreement has been reached and per the email below, from House leadership, a new policy is in place, at least for a trial run. With the Special Session beginning today, the media and House leadership will monitor the policies and perhaps refine them, if needed, before the 2020 60-day regular session begins in January.

The area for a limited number of media is at the left, and is to the right of the Speaker’s chair.

HOUSE MEDIA ACCOMMODATIONS POLICY

• Two areas are reserved for use by the Capitol Press Corps in the Chamber of the Kentucky House of Representatives. On the House Floor, there are five seats and three spots for cameras and one crew member per camera available to the left of the dais of the Speaker of the House. In addition, there will be six designated seats in the House Gallery. The Capitol Press Corps is responsible for notifying the Office of the Speaker of the House which media outlets will receive a designated seat. Designated spaces are non-transferable.

• As of a June 26 request by the Capitol Press Corps, the five seats on the House Floor will be designated for the Associated Press, Courier Journal, Kentucky Today, Lexington Herald-Leader and Kentucky Public Radio. The three camera slots will be first come, first-served until a list of designated outlets is provided the Capitol Press Corps.

• Gallery space reserved for the media will be first come, first served until it is full. At that point, members of the media are asked to secure a Gallery Pass to sit in the area reserved for the general public.

• Once the opening gavel has fallen, members of the media are limited to the space reserved for them on the House Floor. Reporters will not be allowed onto the main section of the House Floor until the House adjourns for the day. This does not apply to meetings required to be accessible by the Open Records and Open Meetings Act.

• Members of the media are expected to observe House decorum, keeping distractions to a minimum.

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