House GOP aiming to prevent another Democratic sit-in - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

House GOP aiming to prevent another Democratic sit-in

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By MARY CLARE JALONICK
Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) - House Republicans are aiming to ensure there's no repeat of a Democratic sit-in last summer over gun control.

GOP leaders are planning a vote on a set of rules changes when Congress convenes in January that includes fines for members who use electronic devices to take pictures or video from the House floor.

The proposal comes six months after Democrats live-streamed a sit-in on the House floor for 26 hours last June to call attention to their demand for votes on gun-control bills. Republican leaders shut off the cameras in the House gallery throughout most of the protest, but Democrats used their cellphones to transmit video on social media. C-SPAN broadcast live video streamed on Periscope and Facebook from lawmakers' accounts.

The proposed fines - $500 for a first offense and $2,500 for any subsequent offense - would be docked from the salaries of offending lawmakers. The new rules would not be retroactive, so those who participated in the sit in last summer won't be penalized.

AshLee Strong, a spokeswoman for House Speaker Paul Ryan, said the changes "will help ensure that order and decorum are preserved in the House of Representatives so lawmakers can do the people's work."

Democrats staged the sit-in after 49 people were killed in a mass shooting at the Orlando, Florida nightclub Pulse.

A spokesman for House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi said Democrats will continue to speak out on the "daily tragedy" of gun violence.

"House Republicans continue to act as the handmaidens of the gun lobby refusing to pass sensible, bipartisan legislation to expand background checks and keep guns out of the hands of terrorists," said spokesman Drew Hammill.

The proposed rules would also clarify that members or employees of the House cannot engage in "disorderly or disruptive conduct" by intentionally blocking another member from moving in the chamber, or using an exhibit or other means to disturb legislative proceedings.

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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