With budget review hearings slated to begin next week and the 2013 Legislative Session right around the corner, the State Senate on Friday announced a new website dedicated to giving members of the public and the press instantaneous access to the research materials and other presentations Senators will use as they develop the Fiscal 2014 budget.
Senate Appropriations Chairman Clark Jolley said the addition of the webpage and a larger monitor in 419-C, the conference room where Senate Appropriations meetings are held, represented a tremendous leap forward in providing timely, detailed information about the budget process.
“These enhanced services will actually be available next week when we start our 2013 Performance hearings, one of the first steps in the budget process,” said Jolley, R-Edmond. “These advancements are actually going to make it easier for our members and the public to access information, and make it easier for us to track, access and archive these materials.”
The Senate Appropriations website is http://appropriations.oksenate.gov/. It can also be accessed through the Senate’s homepage at www.oksenate.gov. Those logging on can watch streaming video of budget meetings while viewing reports, copies of bills and votes.
Among other on-going modernization efforts is the addition of TV monitors in all committee rooms as well as the capability for live webcasting. Room 419-C, the Senate’s largest committee room, has also been equipped with a 90 inch screen so that everyone in attendance can view document text and see committee votes. One of the additional benefits is reclaiming lost seating which was required by projectors formally used with a smaller screen.
Senate President Pro Tempore Brian Bingman has promoted additional technological advancements which were unveiled during the interim, and said Friday’s announcement was part of that ongoing effort.
“We are working to move the Senate into the modern era of web-based communication, moving from the costs, constraints and waste of paper-based information, while widening access to the creation of laws and the writing of the state budget,” said Bingman, R-Sapulpa. “I want to thank Senator Jolley for his leadership, as well as Chief of Staff, Randy Dowell, our IT Director John Warren, Assistant Director Devin Ngo, and all our staff for their work on behalf of the Senate and the people of Oklahoma.”