More on House TV

Looks like I gave the ‘Pubs too much credit too soon.
“I’m glad the Speaker has finally come around to an initiative we’ve been pushing for more than two years now – although it seems to me that his sudden commitment to transparency in government has more to do with Republican electoral prospects than the best interest of Virginians,” said Del. Ward Armstrong, the House Minority Leader, in response to the news from this week that House Speaker Bill Howell had decided to make streaming live video of House of Delegates proceedings available on the Internet.

“Online video broadcasts provide not only a window into the seriousness and solution-oriented nature of the legislative process, but also a responsible and unfiltered method of allowing more Virginians to see the House at work doing the people’s business,” Howell said in announcing the move.

House GOP leaders had blocked proposals from Democrats to make the streaming video available online in years past. In 2007, Del. David Englin authored HR 47, a bill that would have directed the House Clerk’s office to broadcast the existing webcast of the House floor video that was available on state computers in Capitol Square. The bill died on an unrecorded voice vote in the House Rules Committee. House Majority Leader Morgan Griffith moved to kill the measure, speaking to fears that legislators would play to the cameras because they would “want everybody back home to think they’re running the place.”

Armstrong made a similar move in 2008 to have the proceedings available on the ‘Net. A floor amendment failed on a 55-43 vote.

“We shouldn’t be too hard on the Speaker – after all, it takes courage for House Republicans to admit that House Democrats were right all along,” Del. Englin said. “Of course, President-elect Obama won the Speaker’s district, so maybe Republicans are adopting these long-held Democratic positions because they see the writing on the wall. House Democrats have championed these transparency measures for years, and I’m glad to see House Republicans now joining our efforts to shine a light on what happens in the General Assembly.”

  

– Story by Chris Graham


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