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Speaker Howell announces new transparency resources

bill howellVirginia House of Delegates Speaker William J. Howell announced today that a video archive of House floor sessions is now available for the 2017 Session.  The new archive, available from the Virginia General Assembly website, will allow the public and all interested persons to view the floor proceedings of the House during the 2017 Session on demand.

“The House of Delegates continues to build on our past efforts to be open, transparent and accessible,” said Speaker Howell (R-Stafford).  “Our proven record of well-planned and effective technology solutions not only assist the public, media and all who are interested in the people’s business, but also enable them to be better informed about our legislative proceedings.  I look forward to continuing to build on these ideas and initiatives in systematic manner. I want to thank House Clerk Paul Nardo and the entire House Information Technology staff for their hard work creating this system.”

Starting today, each day’s House floor proceedings will be available on the General Assembly website within a few hours of session adjourning for the day.  The House also has created a search feature that will allow viewers to search by bill or by member.  Archived video can be found on the House video streaming page, accessible from the Homepage as well as from the Quick Links tab in the Members and Session section of the website.

The new transparency resources advance an already strong record of institutional process reforms made by Republicans over the years, including: using social media and list-serve functionality to provide additional ways for citizens to receive notice of committee and subcommittee meetings; releasing public House committee agendas that are interactive; and allowing the public to choose the information about bills they wish to view and export.  For the 2017 Session that starts today, information about the issues currently being discussed in a committee and subcommittee meeting will be available on these public agendas as well as other useful information.

Since Howell became Speaker in 2003, the House of Delegates also has maintained or instituted a number of institutional or process reforms:

  • Maintained proportional party representation on House committees;
  • Instituted bill limits for short, 46-day legislative sessions;
  • Ended the practice of holding committee meetings at member’s desk in the House chamber;
  • Directed subcommittee actions be displayed on the Legislative Information System;
  • Required any legislation being voted on by the full House to be available on the Legislative Information System prior to action by the House;
  • Established a 48-hour public review period for the budget conference report prior to action by the House; and
  • Reverted over $5 million budgetary savings to the state general fund.
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