Democrats do 180, shut out public

From the Idaho Statesman

The legislative minority abandoned its argument that Democrats are the champions of transparency at the Legislature.

Shortly before 11 a.m., a Democratic aide distributed a statement loaded with sports metaphors to reporters, saying the House and Senate caucuses had unanimously voted to close their caucuses.

As the news release was distributed, 18 House Democrats and seven Senate Democrats met behind closed doors in their party’s House caucus room. An Idaho Statesman reporter who opened the door was advised that the meeting was closed.

Democrats opened their meetings in 2001 to emphasize their accountability to the public. They also sought to highlight the fact that the Republican majority’s closed meetings could decide critical issues because of their supermajorities in both houses. Democrats often complained that public business was being decided behind closed doors.

But in April, Rep. Brian Cronin, D-Boise, advocated closing caucuses, saying Democrats were at a disadvantage because the party’s strategy couldn’t be kept quiet.

“Sports coaches don’t allow reporters into their halftime meetings with their teams,” Cronin said last year. “When we’ve got one party playing chess and the other playing by Candyland rules, it seems disadvantageous.”

From the Idaho Statesman

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