Barletta Bars People From Recording Town Hall Meetings

In February of 2011, I attended a town hall meeting of congressmen Lou Barletta and Tom Marino at King's College and was astonished when I heard both persons defending their positions and explaining their ideas about government. I've also been discussing Marino and Barletta's ideas on Facebook and have been very critical of them.

Recent news, though, has taken the cake. Lou Barletta wants to ban individuals from recording town hall meetings and only wants to allow media representatives to record these public meetings. According to Barletta's spokesman, one of the reasons for doing this is that people are afraid to speak up and ask questions at these public meetings. This reason is a very poor one.

Transparency of our government is very important. People should be allowed to record and publish what their elected officials are saying at open meetings and should not be stopped from doing so. Banning individuals from recording open meetings is quite draconian and resembles a very closed government in which all cannot participate and learn about their elected representatives. Public town hall meetings are not accessible for everyone because people have other obligations such as work, are limited because of location, etc. Recording of public town hall meetings allows for all constituents and even persons outside of the local area to be informed voters who can participate in one way or another in their state government process. Banning recording of meetings makes many people political outsiders and makes these meetings very exclusive.

Shame on Lou Barletta. I'm not going to take this sitting down. I called Barletta's office today and was told that there are no scheduled official meetings yet, but this does not matter. I want to attend these meetings (and have) and will not have my rights violated by Lou Barletta.

I'm going to do something about this beyond just authoring this blog post.
Stay tuned for updates and details.


Other news articles about Barletta's banning of recording public town hall meetings are here: