RI to stream legislative sessions online, joining other 49 statesFebruary 27th, 2013 at 1:02 pm by Ted Nesi under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site
The one state where that’s not possible? Rhode Island.
The General Assembly is the country’s only state legislature that doesn’t offer live audio or video webcasts of its floor proceedings, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Many of them offer even more than that, including live webcasts of committee hearings and archived videos of older business.
But that’s about to change, according to House Speaker Gordon Fox’s spokesman Larry Berman.
“We are in the final stages of testing our developing web-streaming capabilities that should be operational within the next few weeks,” Berman told WPRI.com on Tuesday. “We will have an announcement when it’s a ‘go.’” Right now state legislative matters are aired exclusively on the taxpayer-funded Capitol TV station.
“I am very excited,” Berman said. “It is going to greatly expand the public’s accessibility to House and Senate sessions and committee hearings.” The timeline may allow a much wider audience to see the Senate’s upcoming hearings on whether to legalize same-sex marriage.
Before Berman’s announcement, Common Cause Rhode Island’s John Marion had urged the legislature to rectify the “glaring omission” of its failure to stream proceedings, saying it would fit with others strides made toward greater transparency including putting votes online, using social media to engage with citizens and archiving Capitol TV footage on YouTube.
“We know that updating the physical facilities to create bigger hearing rooms, etc., would come at great cost, so a smaller investment could further open the legislative process to the public,” Marion said.