Oklahoma House Rules for 2019 Include Ban on Video from the Floor

Jan 9, 2019

Credit Serge Melki

Oklahoma House Republicans set the rules for the 2019 session that begins next month.

The 85 pages of rules passed on a party-line vote, and they include a ban on members shooting video or broadcasting from the floor while the House is in session.

"It was the feeling of our body that we didn’t want to be either intentionally or inadvertently part of someone else’s broadcast that we have no knowledge of, we have not consented to," said Rep. Terry O'Donnell.

Minority Leader Emily Virgin questioned that reasoning.

"If you’re concerned about your private conversation being recorded, then have that conversation in private. This House floor is where the people’s business is done. This building is where the people’s business is done," Virgin said. "So, if you don’t want the people to know what you’re doing on this floor, then either don’t do it or do it somewhere else."

O’Donnell said members can still go outside the chamber to shoot video while the House is in session. Democrats said it takes away an important tool, especially when online video feeds go down.

The rules also include a provision that allows the Speaker of the House to waive the requirement that 48 hours notice be given ahead of committee meetings. Virgin said that runs counter to calls from both parties for transparency.

"We need to be able to tell. our constituents, ‘This bill is going to be heard at this time in this committee on this day.’ By waiving that notice requirement, we have no idea when that bill might be heard," Virgin said.

Democrats also oppose a provision allowing the Speaker to authorize or introduce bills after the filing deadline.