Press move delayed

JEFFERSON CITY — The Missouri Senate has delayed the implementation of a plan to move the press from the floor of the chamber to an upper gallery.

The Associated Press reported cost concerns led to the delay. Rushing to complete construction of a press section in the upper gallery during the upcoming legislative Spring break would have added $44,000 in overtime costs to the project’s estimate of $127,000. As it stands now, the move will be undertaken after legislative adjournment in mid-May.

At the beginning of this session, the Republican-controlled Senate voted to change its rule, effective March 29, removing the press from a 10-seat table on the Senate floor.

“Some of the press violated their code of ethics by tweeting out discussions between senators, and I will not stand for that so they will not be on the floor of the Senate anymore,” said Senate President Pro Tem Ron Richard, R-Joplin. He did not elaborate.

Moving the press to the upper gallery will make it more difficult to cover the state Senate, reporters say. Getting pages of amendments will be more of a problem. And since reporters will be one floor above where the senators are located, it will be harder to grab someone to ask a question.

Reporters once covered the House from its floor but Democrats moved them to an upper gallery in the 1960s.