in Houston, Texas
Texas Senate does too much business in secret, Wentworth says
Saturday, Oct 25, 2008, 06:40PM CST
By Jennifer Peebles
The Texas Senate does too much of its business in secret, a leading Senate Republican said Friday at an Austin conference on open government issues.

Jeff Wentworth, the six-term Senator from San Antonio and chairman of the Senate Committee on Jurisprudence, said that he was "concerned about the way the Senate does its business," saying too much deliberation goes on while senators meet in closed-door caucuses in the Capitol's Betty King Committee Room: "We discuss things that, I believe, should be seen on the floor of the Texas Senate."

Senators are often briefed on important issues in great detail in those private meetings, and "we get in very hot, emotional debates in the Betty King Room," Wentworth said.

"In my judgment, it could be a healthier situation than it is."

Wentworth's comments were made at the annual conference of the Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas, as the senator was taking part in a roundtable discussion on open government issues in the state.

Wentworth told the group that he was with its members in the belief that "citizens are denied" the ability to hear the Senate deliberate on those issues.

And what goes on the Betty King Room is supposed to stay in the Betty King Room. The Senate has an "unwritten rule," he said, that what's discussed there must remain secret, the senator said, or risk being "shunned by your colleagues."

Senators sometimes speak on an issue one way in the privacy of the Betty King Room, but then take the other side when the matter is discussed publicly on the Senate floor, Wentworth said.

The Betty King Committee Room was formerly known as the Lieutenant Governor's Committee Room. It was renamed in 2001 in honor of the woman who spent 24 years as secretary of the Senate.

(Picture by flickr user faster panda kill kill, used via the Creative Commons license.)
Keep up with all the latest news from Texas Watchdog. Fan our page on Facebook, join our group on MySpace, follow us on Twitter, and put our RSS feed in your newsreader.
Thursday, 10/30/2008 - 04:27PM

So that is why he sponsored the senate version of HB 2564 in the last legislature right?

Karen Townsend | 7 years 5 months
"Patrick F. Kennedy is a career foreign service officer" -
Peter Corbett ✈ | 7 years 5 months
I'm at McCarran International Airport (LAS) w/ @almacy
KERA Public Media | 7 years 5 months
TONIGHT at 7pm on KERA TV: Presidential Debate: Learn more at PBS NewsHour.
PBS MediaShift | 7 years 5 months
Tech Snafus Make Bill O'Reilly/Jon Stewart 'Rumble' More of a Stumble (@kegill | @pbsmediashift) #rumble2012
Will Sullivan | 7 years 5 months
Great addition, been burned too much by bad subs. "Google Play Announces Free Trials For In-App Subscription Services"
TxDOT | 7 years 5 months
I-35W/North Tarrant Express #constantcontact
© 2019 TEXAS WATCHDOG and USELABS. All Rights Reserved. Terms of Use and Privacy Statement