St. Louis Public Radio News
5:03 am
Tue January 13, 2009

Nixon rescinds cell phone ban for media

Jefferson City, MO – New Missouri Governor Jay Nixon got off on the wrong foot with the Capital Press Corps today.

Just minutes before the start of his first press conference, Nixon's staff told reporters they could not bring their cell phones into the inner office, and that the new rule was put in place for security reasons.

But Nixon relented after the reporters threatened to boycott the press conference.

Once inside, reporters also noticed a new security camera above the doorway in the governor's inner office.

Nixon says it's just an extra tool, carried over from his days as Attorney General that helps his staff do their jobs.

"We had a camera that we used, not to record, but we used that so that my executive assistant would know when meetings were over and that we could move more quickly through meetings...it was used merely as a telecommunication devise so that we could be more efficient in our operations," Nixon said.

Nixon added that he didn't know if the camera was at that moment recording everyone in the room, but when asked if any recordings would be considered public record, he said, "Sure."

As for the cell phone ban, Communications Director Jack Cardetti says it will remain in place for all non-media meetings with the governor.