• Amy Hedtke Was Forcibly Removed and Arrested in the John H Reagan State Office Building on March 22, 2017
• Committee Chair is Byron Cook, Republican, From TX House District 8
• It Is Lawful to Record Public Meetings According to Texas Government Code Sec. 551.023
(AUSTIN, Texas) – In this Project Veritas video, James O’Keefe teams up with Texas mother and citizen journalist Amy Hedtke who was unlawfully removed from a State Affairs Committee meeting for attempting to film it in accordance with Texas state law.
The Chair of the Committee, Republican Byron Cook, made the decision to have Hedtke removed from the meeting, according to the DPS Officer and David Sauceda, the Sergeant of Arms for the Texas House of Representatives:
Amy Hedtke: This state law says that I have the right to record. So you’re going to break state law and remove me?
DPS Officer: The chairman has the right to make that decision.
Amy Hedtke: Where does the chairman have the right to break state law?
David Sauceda: You’re going to have to leave, there is no discussion. I’m sorry.
DPS Officers took Amy’s camera and moved her outside of the meeting room, where she was arrested.
Amy Hedtke: I have the right to stay and record with video camera. If you remove me…If you remove me… I am not going to leave. Cause I am exercising my rights. I have the right to be here. And I have the right to record.
David Sauceda: I’m sorry you don’t.
- A person in attendance may record all or any part of an open meeting of a governmental body by means of a recorder, video camera, or other means of aural or visual reproduction.
It appears that Representative Cook has a track record of limiting the transparency of government–other organizations have also accused him of prohibiting citizens from filming public meetings.
Following Hedtke’s arrest, Project Veritas decided to visit Representative Byron Cook’s office. O’Keefe was quickly escorted from the office before he could meet with the Representative. Shortly thereafter, O’Keefe was contacted by Cook’s Chief of Staff Toni Barcellona, who evaded commenting on the law which allows citizens to record meetings, instead only citing the Committee rules.
“Amy Hedtke should have been allowed to film that hearing,” said James O’Keefe in a video. “Amy should not have been arrested, but she was willing to be arrested. She was standing up for her rights, she was standing up for the people in the state of Texas and she was standing up for all of us.”