ST. PAUL (AP) -- Wide-open access to House Republican strategy sessions will be curtailed in the 2001 legislative session, putting that caucus on equal footing with the three other political groups in the Legislature.
But the policy change represents an erosion of the moral higher ground House Speaker Steve Sviggum had tried to claim for House Republicans.
He has cited the open caucus meetings as an example of the House Republicans' commitment to openness and accountability in government.
Sviggum, R-Kenyon, announced the change Monday in a confidential e-mail to Republican House members. The Saint Paul Pioneer Press obtained a copy of the message.
"The need for more closed caucuses was a recurring request from many of you, and we will certainly accommodate that request," Sviggum wrote in the e-mail. "Whether it is for members' comfort or the need to keep our Republican strategy confidential, the closure of our caucus is an appropriate action."
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