Agendawise.com has sued state officials because they were denied access to the state’s video feed of the Texas Legislature.
Top officials in Texas’ House and Senate are playing favorites by allowing only select groups to set up servers that stream live, unedited video of the Legislature, an online news outlet claims in court.
AgendaWise sued Lt. Gov./Senate President David Dewhurst, Speaker of the House Joe Straus, Senate Committee on Administration Chairman Kevin Eltife, and Committee on House Administration Chairman Charlie Geren, in Travis County Court.
AgendaWise, a nonprofit, claims that state Sen. Eltife and Rep. Geren rejected its request for space in the server closet at the Texas Capitol.
It claims the defendants – all Republicans – violate the First Amendment by denying it access, and that they did so because AgendaWise reporters have “frequently criticized political stances held by defendants.”
Geren “has expressed his dissatisfaction with the reporting of AgendaWise online, accusing AgendaWise Executive Director Daniel Greer of telling lies and criticizing former AgendaWise board member Michael Quinn Sullivan,” the complaint states.
“(T)he Texas House and Texas Senate have created a public forum in the Capitol server closets and allowed at least one organization of private citizens, The Texas Tribune, to install servers there for the purpose of streaming legislatively produced audio and video,” the lawsuit states. “The Texas House and Texas Senate cannot now deny AgendaWise that same access on the basis of their apparent contempt for the content of AgendaWise’s reporting on other matters.”
This is sheer pettiness on the part of Eltife and Geren. You don’t like what someone says about you, so you deny them access to public property? Access that you’ve already given to other people that don’t always say nice things about you? Are you kidding me?
Lt. Gov. Dewhurst or Speaker Straus should have stepped in and told Eltife and Geren to get over their bruised egos and give Agendawise.com the same access that they’ve given other media groups. Fact is, they still can. And should. Wasting taxpayer money because you can’t handle criticism is stupid.
Once again, Texas Republicans look like idiots that can’t govern when their toes get stepped on.