State Sen. Jeremy Hutchinson, R-Little Rock, filed a bill today to allow for live-streaming of Senate committees.
SB 129 would require the State Senate to broadcast live audio and video of its committee meetings on the Internet during all regular and special sessions.
Hutchinson tells Talk Business that the measure has garnered "mixed reviews" from his colleagues.
Some want to sign on as co-sponsors, while others are luke-warm or opposed to the idea.
"The Senate has a long history of being traditional, so I’m not terribly optimistic that it will pass this session," Hutchinson says.
He noted that the Arkansas House spent several sessions talking about it before it implemented cameras in committee rooms and on the floor.
"I think the public’s right to know outweighs Senate tradition or decorum," Hutchinson added.
He won’t meet with resistance from the current Senate leader. Senate President Paul Bookout, D-Jonesboro, tells Talk Business that he thinks the bill should get consideration and could pass – if not this session, then in the near future.
"I think we’ll probably get there some day," Bookout said. "I think in today’s modern times with technology, I think we’ll get there."
SB 129 has been referred to the Senate Transportation, Technology and Legislative Affairs Committee.
The Arkansas House of Representatives live-streams most of its committee meetings and floor proceedings thanks to an investment of approximately $330,000 in video equipment since the last session.
Both Hutchinson and Bookout expressed concern that money may be the biggest hindrance to the effort’s progress.