Tuesday, January 27, 2009

MORE ON THE ROUNDHOUSE WEBCASTS

Our story in today's New Mexican about the webcasting developments can be found HERE. This little issue seems to have caught the old guard at the Roundhouse by surprise. As I noted in the previous post, the fear of YouTube might be driving some of the resistance to the idea -- paranoia about being immortalized in video for saying or doing something stupid in a floor debate. Sen. Mark Boitano told me Monday that the YouTube factor might be good for everyone, encouraging lawmakers not to shoot from the hip and to choose their words carefully.

Some webcast advocates in the House have expressed the fear that House Speaker Ben Lujan might draw the line, as early as today, and ban the webcams from any House proceedings. As you'll see in our news story, Lujan told Kate Nash Monday he was undecided on the issue. He told me the same thing last week.

But such a decision would feed the fires of suspicion about secrecy in state government. Seems like there's been a whole spate of secrecy stories lately. There's Gov. Bill Richardson's $1.7 million Moving America Forward Foundation, which refuses to release the names of contributors and whose director has refused to return reporters' phone calls, (including mine.) Then there's Attorney General Gary King's unexpected opposition to opening conference committees.

At a time in which our politicians love to talk about transparency, there sure seem to be a lot of doors they like to close at the Capitol.

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Just a reminder: KUNM is supposed to start its Senate audio stream today. CLICK HERE

2 comments:

  1. Webcasting might discourage a lot of the silliness that is routine on both the House and Senate floor. Good riddance, I say.

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  2. The rules committee decided not to deal with the bill before them this morning. Rather, Speaker Lujan decided to form a sub committee to look into the issue.

    House speaker Ben Lujan refused to answer at least 2 direct questions about a time line that he would follow in creating the subcommittee.

    An overwhelming majority of the committee spoke in favor of webcasting, some insisting that it be "done right" if they were going to do it at all. Done right meaning done professionally and well; as opposed to individual legislators doing it on their own.

    A number of committee members took thinly veiled shots at Rep Janice Arnold-Jones for taking the lead on the issue, rather than surrendering it to the good ol' boy process. (not their words, of course)

    A motion to approve the bill pending a decision based on the subcommittee's work, received a second, and was then ruled out of order by the committee chair.

    Or, business as usual.

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