Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Virginia is In Minority (1 of only 11 states) with No Legislative Video, Audio Archives


In Virginia General Assembly, many bills die by stealth, February 26, 2015

Original Post:

Yep, for 6 out of the last 7 session I’ve recorded the audio of every Committee hearing I’ve attended and testified at. (See article below) 

This year I bought the cheapest GoPro Camera I could find and a small tripod planning on videoing each hearing and uploading it to this website but based on the only location video cameras were allowed to be set-up in the Committee rooms and the short record time on my inexpensive camera, that didn’t pan out this year. 

Virginia shouldn’t just archive the video of chamber/floor sessions on-line but they should record every Committee hearing where public testimony is heard, stream it live and archive it on-line by end of business, everyday of session! 

Citizens across the Commonwealth that can't travel the Richmond should be able to watch proposed legislation "die" and "move forward" as it is happening and after the fact days, weeks or months later.  

Transparency!  Accountability!  Open Government!  Integrity! 

Come on Virginia!


Va. in minority with no legislative video, audio archives, February 24, 2015
By Patrick Wilson

Waldo Jaquith started posting video of state House and Senate floor sessions on his website as a hobby around 2007 or 2008. 

"I thought I'd have to do this for a year or two and then the General Assembly would say, 'Look, this guy can do it in his spare time. Maybe we should just put up a video ourselves.' " 

Seven years later, Jaquith is still doing it. The state is not. And that puts Virginia in the minority.

The commonwealth is one of only 11 states that don't offer the public archived video or audio of legislative floor proceedings, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. 

Viewers on the General Assembly's website can watch a live feed of the House of Delegates and Senate, but once it's over, the video is gone.

"It doesn't make a bit of sense," said Sen. Chap Petersen, D-Fairfax, who has tried and failed several times in recent years to convince the legislature to pay for posting the video online. "You would think that it would not be a big deal." 

In an era when Congress and many local governments, including Virginia Beach, Norfolk and Chesapeake, provide constituents with live coverage and online access to video of past meetings, some activist groups and lawmakers say the General Assembly needs to be more open. 

Thirty-nine states produce live webcasts or audio of some or all committee hearings, and 33 states provide an online archive of past hearings. 

Virginia doesn't record or broadcast legislative committee hearings, where testimony on bills is presented. If a bill is discussed and killed during a committee hearing, a citizen would have to be present to hear and see what happened.  

There are no transcripts made other than committees working on legislative district boundaries.