Allow Press Back on Virginia State Senate Floor

virginia-state-capitol-by-jim-bowen

Target: Ralph S. Northam, Virginia Lieutenant Governor

Goal: Reinstate media privileges to allow press members back on Senate floor.

Virginia State Senate majority leaders have effectively silenced unbiased reporting on their in-session activities. When reporters showed up on the opening day of the General Assembly, they were turned away from the Senate floor and forced into a tight space in the upper gallery with limited sight lines and poor acoustics. The tiny space reserved for the press also fails to provide space for writing or outlets for laptops.

Although senators claim the move is to provide more room for legislators and their pages to move about the chamber, the drastic change raises questions of transparency. Reporters are still allowed on the floor of the House of Delegates, which seems to indicate that space is not an issue in legislative chambers, further fueling transparency concerns.

Demand press privileges on the senate floor are reinstated and questions about transparency are addressed immediately.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Mr. Northam,

As the Lieutenant Governor, you are also the presiding officer for the state senate. On opening day of the General Assembly, the press was banned from their usual place on the senate floor and relegated to a small corner in the upper gallery, which fails to provide them with clear sightlines or proper space for writing.

This measure occurred only in the Senate and gives rise to questions about transparency of their votes and other actions. As elected officials, members of the State Senate owe their constituents an unbiased and open view of their actions.

We demand this action be rescinded and that the press be allowed on the senate floor once again.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Jim Bowen

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