Assembly ‘still working’ on webcasting committee meetings

By Published On: January 26th, 2022Categories: Capitol Notes

Nearly six years after Assembly Democrats committed to providing video broadcasts of their committee meetings, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie says the chamber is still working on realizing the transparency measure.

Asked Tuesday in the Capitol for an update on the project, the Bronx Democrat said they were “still working on that.”

“We’re still looking at it,” Heastie said. “I think we are gonna try to get it done as soon as possible. So, I think that’s where we are.”

The state Senate began providing live broadcasts of their committee meetings more than a decade ago and maintain a video library of those meetings on the chamber’s Youtube page.

Last year, proponents of government transparency reiterated their call for the Assembly to follow the Senate’s lead. They argue that the current setup makes it difficult for the public to follow along with the Assembly’s governing process.

In 2014,  good government activists demonstrated the ease of broadcasting meetings by using their smartphones to provide a livestream.

During the pandemic, Assembly committee meetings transitioned from in-person gatherings to mostly remote discussions conducted over an internet meeting service. Aside from a handful of exceptions, the Assembly has refrained from posting the audio of those meetings on their website.

The 2016 recommendations for webcasting Assembly committee meetings came from a working group that Heastie convened in 2015, after assuming the job of speaker. Following the release of the working group’s recommendations, the Assembly’s website added user friendly tools, such as an improved legislative search function.