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Private citizens, members of the media and others interested in following the legislative process will find accessing actions in the State Senate easier than ever before, thanks to several new technological upgrades that are now being put in place.
New high resolution cameras have been added in the front and back of the chamber for those following the Senate on the Internet, with new software enabling bill information and links to the text of measures to appear next to the chamber video. The camera angle for the website will change depending on which microphone is being used.
In addition, a new voting board will enable the display of more information, including a full short title and a list of upcoming bills to be heard that day.
“This is part of our ongoing effort to make it easier and simpler for people to see the work that’s being done by their senators,” said Pres. Pro Tempore Brian Bingman. “With each upgrade, we are continuing to make the legislative process more accessible than it’s ever been before.”
Bingman, R-Sapulpa, said the changes also enable the Senate to become more efficient—the display of upcoming bills on the vote board will help members who want to switch from paper copies of legislation to electronic versions.
A new sound board will be tied to the voting board, along with the website and high definition cameras making it possible to archive audio in a more useable format. Archived, searchable audio of the Senate’s legislative sessions will be available on the website beginning with the 2013 session. The new voting and sound boards will also allow enhanced archived audio that will be searchable by bill number. The Senate also has archived digital audio of sessions for the previous ten years available on CD through the Records and Information Division.
“Through the use of digital technology, the Internet and other improvements, the Senate has made tremendous strides in promoting transparency,” said Bingman. “I’m especially proud that we’ve achieved these upgrades through the hard work and talent of our own staff—we really appreciate their effort and dedication.”
These latest upgrades, including the digital cameras for the chamber, will be completed in time for the 2013 legislative session. In September the Senate announced that all committee rooms would now have the equipment to provide streaming audio and video. Additional upgrades mean real time committee votes will be available on the internet. All materials presented in interim studies and committee meetings during the session are also being made available online.