A number of House committees will likely vote this morning on whether to live stream their meetings. Revenue and Tax, Judiciary and Public Health committees all meet this morning at 10:00 a.m. There has been - unfathomably - a debate over whether to use live streaming technology that was installed in four committee rooms last year at the cost of over $300,000. The technology would greatly limit legislators' ability to make a vote and then bound out of the room before a roll call vote is called for. The proposal was brought up by Rep. Clark Hall, D-Marvell, last week. Members of the media sent a letter to Speaker of the House Robert Moore asking him to step in and stop the madness. Some legislators have said meetings shouldn't be live streamed until all committee rooms are equipped. Rep. Johnnie Roebuck, D-Arkadelphia, was quoted as saying that only streaming one or two committees' meetings would present a "slanted and limited view" of what goes on in state government." What?
In my view this is simple. It's a matter of transparency. It's also a no-brainer for legislators. In a political climate that now demands more openness and less wasteful spending, there is no way you can justify NOT live streaming committee hearings when the technology is available and the money has already been spent. This is one voters will remember.
UPDATE: Tolbert reports the Revenue and Tax Committee voted to live stream their meetings, despite votes against from Reps. Larry Crowling, D-Foreman, and Mike Patterson, D-Piggott. Thanks to Elizabeth Aymond for the Justin.tv link above.
Tweets indicate the House Judiciary Committee will postpone a vote on live streaming until next week. Public Health has voted to live stream their meetings.