Lawmaker meetings would be broadcast under bill

1/20/2014

TOPEKA (AP) — Audio and video of Kansas legislative committee sessions would be streamed live over the Internet under a bill introduced in the House.

Republican State Rep. Stephanie Clayton, of Overland Park, said citizens need to have better access to their legislators and that her bill was a "baby step" in that process. She said the bill would help citizens stay current on matters that affect their lives and ensure legislators are paying attention, reports the Lawrence Journal-World.

The bill, which has been referred to the House Appropriations Committee, also would require video broadcasts of House and Senate sessions. Audio of the sessions already is streamed on the Internet, but Clayton said video is needed because just hearing the proceedings is often confusing.

Clayton said all the committee rooms in the renovated Statehouse are wired to provide audio and video, so the state would only have to purchase cameras. Her bill requires one camera per committee room, but she didn't have a cost estimate for the proposal. She said she thought it could be done for $10,000.

Most states provide live streaming of House and Senate proceedings, while states vary considerably on whether they broadcast committees, said Brenda Erickson, a senior research analyst with the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Erickson said some committee rooms in old statehouses are too small for the equipment needed, while some legislators think having a camera in the room could intimidate people who come to testify.

"They don't want to disturb the process," she said.

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