Government in the shadows; the Arkansas Senate likes it that way | Arkansas Blog

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Government in the shadows; the Arkansas Senate likes it that way

Posted By on Tue, Feb 13, 2018 at 9:31 AM

click to enlarge A RARE VIEW: Empty or full, the Senate doesn't allow live web streaming of its business. If you want to be able to hold the Senate accountable, you'll have to trot down to the Capitol and catch them in session. Same for its committee meetings.
  • A RARE VIEW: Empty or full, the Senate doesn't allow live web streaming of its business. If you want to be able to hold the Senate accountable, you'll have to trot down to the Capitol and catch them in session. Same for its committee meetings.

The legislature's budget session continues today and, thanks to the Arkansas Senate, the important business isn't accessible to the public unless you trot down to the Capitol.

What do I mean?

In a budget session, most of the action is in the Joint Budget Committee, which reviews appropriation bills. That's just about the only business on the agenda at a budget session, save efforts to suspend rules to take up other matters. That requires a two-thirds vote. Some measures on guns, naturally, have already surfaced.

But back to public accountability. Since Joint Budget includes both senators and representatives, its meetings are not streamed on the web. No meetings of Senate committees are streamed on the web. The Senate grudgingly allows an audio stream of its sessions, but it is impossible for the average Arkansan to have any idea who's speaking.

The House video streaming not only works well, it is archived. The Senate? They don't want you to have that information.

Kudos to the House. Continued shame on the Senate.

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