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WV House panel bans photography, video by public

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — In the middle of Wednesday morning’s meeting of the House Judiciary Committee, Delegate John Shott, the chairman, made an announcement.

The committee had just passed its first bill of the morning, and was about to begin discussion of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, one of the most controversial bills of the session.

Video and photography is not permitted, Shott told the room, except by credentialed members of the media. Anyone else who wanted to photograph or record the public meeting, for whatever reason, was out of luck.

It was not the first time Shott, R-Mercer, has made the announcement. He made similar announcements last week before public hearings in the House chamber on the religious freedom bill and a right-to-work bill.

“It’s just always been a rule, I’ve heard it repeated numerous times,” Shott said. “For as long as I know.”

Others, with long histories in the House, said otherwise…

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