Journalists banned from Iowa Senate floor; transparency advocates raise concerns

Republican leaders in Iowa have banned journalists from the Senate floor, a break from a 140-year tradition that raises alarms among freedom of information advocates, The Washington Post reported Jan. 8, 2022.

During the state’s 2022 legislative session, reporters will be barred from press benches near senators’ desks. Reporters told The Post that proximity to the lawmakers allows for more accurate coverage, as they are able to see and hear everything and get answers and clarifications during debate.

“When you take journalists and restrict their access and then you couple that with changes that have occurred in the past couple of years with procedures in Iowa, it makes it that much harder for the public to know what’s going on,” said Randy Evans, executive director of the Iowa Freedom of Information Council, a member of the National Freedom of Information Coalition.