Yes, Please: Webcast Legislative Committee Meetings and Votes

January 27, 2014

Reinvent Albany joined a January 14 Memorandum of Support from good government groups for a bill that requires legislative committee meetings and votes to be webcast  “to the extent practicable.” It also requires that committee and session votes be placed online within 24 hours of being cast.  The bill, A2097-B (Hevesi) / S3046-B (Marcellino) is a laudable step forward.

Given how inexpensive webcasting is – legislative interns with smart phones could stream to a Livestream channel – we think it is always “practicable.” But the legislature only streams from rooms already wired with webcams or with bulky, high definition equipment that greatly increases costs. So we will see. Our memo calls for strengthening the bill by:

[R]equiring archiving of videos on governmental websites, clarifying that hearings and forums should be webcast in addition to meetings, clarifying that webcasts should be conducted live, and providing online memos of support or opposition to legislation voted on in committee.

Thank you to Assembly member Andy Hevesi and Senator Marcellino for sponsoring the bill, and to Citizens Union for championing it.

Memo Support State Webcasting A2097