(Screenshot via Maryland General Assembly webcast)
The Maryland General Assembly gaveled in on Wednesday for its 2018 session.
— Jheanelle Wilkins (@JheanelleW) January 10, 2018
State delegates and senators will be in Annapolis for 90 days of live legislative action. And it’ll bring lots more people to the State House to testify in committee hearings and voice their opinions.
Still, those who can’t make it won’t be able to watch live. That’s because Maryland doesn’t livestream the proceedings in the house or senate. According to the governor’s office, it’s one of just seven states that doesn’t have audio or video of what’s happening on the floor. Video is often available of hearings, but it’s only posted after the fact. That means debates about matters such as ridesharing regulations and police technology after the fact when the votes are already cast.
This year, however, the legislators will have a chance to put themselves on camera. Among the bills being put forward is the Legislative Transparency Act of 2018, which requires legislative sessions to be livestreamed. It’s being championed by Gov. Larry Hogan.
“I believe very strongly that the public has a right to know what their lawmakers are saying and doing during the debate on these important issues which are directly affecting the citizens and taxpayers of Maryland,” Hogan said in a statement. “Legislators should be deliberating out in the open, in the light of day, instead of behind closed doors.”
Despite such appeals, legislators have been reticent to let the light in. Similar bills have been brought in the past, including one last year, but they’ve never even made it to a vote.
“Our hope is that this year will finally be the year that this common sense measure is signed into law,” Hogan said.-30-
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