Senate Republicans Remove Press From Virginia Senate Floor 

The Virginia State Capitol

John H. Sheally II

The Virginia State Capitol

The tables where reporters sit to work and report on the Virginia Senate have been removed and media representatives on Wednesday's opening day of the General Assembly were told to go to the upper gallery.

Hobie Lehman, the sergeant-at-arms, would only say reporters should ask Senate Majority Leader Tommy Norment, R-James City County, about the change.

Several reporters, from outlets including The Associated Press, The Washington Post and the Daily Press of Newport News approached the entrance to the chamber Wednesday as the session convened and were turned away.

Sen. Ryan McDougle, R-Hanover County, the chairman of the Senate Republican Caucus, later said on the floor that the rules were being changed to allow more space for lawmakers and pages, the teenage assistants who serve food to senators and run errands for them.

The seating area for reporters was near the clerks' dais, where Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam presides over the chamber.

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