2013-04-04 / News

General Assembly will now stream hearings live

The public will now be able to watch committee hearings – as well as live Senate and House sessions – on the Internet for the first time in Rhode Island’s history.

Capitol TV will be able to live stream up to four committee hearings simultaneously, which will allow the public to see votes and hearings in real time. Those hearings, as well as the House and Senate sessions, will then be archived so they can be viewed through the R.I. General Assembly website on demand.

Currently, Capitol TV airs a live House session and tapes the Senate session to broadcast after. Without web streaming, the channel could only broadcast one live committee meeting at a time.

This upgrade will improve the transparency of the legislature,” said Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed, who represents Jamestown and Newport. “Live streaming and archiving of video is among the most significant steps we have taken to use technology to make it easier for the public to engage in the legislative process. This initiative will enable the public to watch in real time video what they previously had to wait to see, and to view past hearings on legislation of interest to them with the click of a button.”

Live web streaming is one of a slew of technology upgrades that the General Assembly is initiating this year to increase accessibility and transparency for the public. Videos will be posted legislature’s website, as well as the regular Capitol TV schedule. The General Assembly will continue to show the live House session, committee hearings and additional recordings on Channel 15 for Cox Communications, as well as Channel 34 for Verizon customers.

“Now there will be more ways than ever for the public to access information and follow bills that they care about,” said House Speaker Gordon Fox. “It was important to me this year that we do what was necessary to make live streaming and archiving a real possibility. I’m also hopeful that this will encourage more civic participation and engagement in Rhode Island.”

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