Governor's investigation hearing location caught lawmakers by surprise
JEFFERSON CITY —
A House investigative panel met behind closed doors Wednesday morning at Jefferson City Police Department. The committee serves to look into a felony charge against the governor.
Yet, the move to the police station rather than the Capitol caught lawmakers by surprise.
KRCG 13's Kermit Miller spoke to Committee Chair Jay Barnes about a week ago regarding security surrounding the hearings. Barnes said that moving any closed hearings off Capitol grounds wouldn't be necessary.
Barnes noted that one of the House hearing rooms in the Capitol basement had an exit directly into the garage and would be utilized to protect the arrival of an anonymous witness.
Yet, the idea was rejected. Sources claimed the House could not afford to lose access to that hearing room for the duration of the proceedings.
The change in location also suggests that closed proceedings will be the rule during the investigation, according to House Minority Leader Gail McCann Beatty.
"We were under the understanding that, perhaps, some of this would be close door by that others parts of this would be open," the Democratic state representative said. "It appears now that the chairman has taken a turn, and that, perhaps, now everything is going to be closed."
"And that concerns me. The public wants to know what's going on. It makes it very suspicious when everything is in secret," she said.
Rep. Beatty also said the Democratic Caucus was adamant the two Democrats on the panel have immediate access to legal advice.
As a result, beyond the seven committee members, both parties have legal counsel with them in the closed hearing room.