The Speaker's press release:
RICHMOND, VA – In the latest of a series of initiatives announced by the House Majority Caucus providing practical solutions to improve government operations, effectiveness and transparency, Virginia House of Delegates Speaker William J. Howell (R-Stafford) today announced his decision to implement streaming live video of daily floor proceedings of the House of Delegates. Beginning Wednesday, January 14, 2009, all daily House sessions will be available for viewing by the public on the General Assembly’s website.Cross-posted at SixtyFour81.com
“The House of Delegates is an essential institution in our representative democracy,” said Speaker Howell. “Online video broadcasts provide not only a window into the seriousness and solution-oriented nature of the legislative process, but also a responsible and unfiltered method of allowing more Virginians to see the House at work doing the people’s business. When I became Speaker in 2003, I pledged to work to protect the institutional integrity of the House as Delegates exercise their constitutional duties. Online video broadcasts are the latest step toward meeting that goal.”
“Since being given the responsibility in 2000 to lead this historic chamber as the Majority, House Republicans repeatedly have demonstrated our strong commitment to making the House of Delegates a better working institution, one that is continuously being reformed and improved to make it more accountable, accessible, and open to the public.
“Long before Republicans were in the House Majority, we proposed major ethics reforms – like barring Virginia elected officials from fundraising while lawmakers are in Session in Richmond to keep a clear buffer between legislative votes and campaign contributions – and for the first time instituting proportional seating on committees. These and many other positive reforms are now in effect because the people of Virginia entrusted us with the majority. We have built successfully on our promises, making the legislative process more efficient and cost-conscious. Just last month, we instituted changes that will save Virginia taxpayers over $1.1 million this year alone. In the 2009 Session, we also will begin recording subcommittee votes (another first) and posting them online for the first time ever, a reform made possible by the sensible bill limitations we proposed last year and the cost savings we are enacting this year. As we have always done since being given the leadership responsibility of the Majority by Virginia voters, House Republicans will keep working to identify and institute common sense improvements for those we are honored and privileged to represent.”
Speaker Howell instructed the House Clerk’s Office to make House floor proceedings accessible on the Internet with the commencement of the 2009 General Assembly session. The video will be broadcast using cameras currently installed and operated in the House chamber. The live video stream will be accessible through the General Assembly’s homepage.