Idaho Public Television to provide easier, long-term access to Legislature

Idaho Public Television to provide easier, long-term access to Legislature

by
Idaho Freedom Foundation staff
December 2, 2013
Idaho Freedom Foundation staff
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December 2, 2013
[post_thumbnail]Senate Majority Leader Bart Davis, R-Idaho Falls, was instrumental in supporting legislation that provides more access to the proceedings of the Idaho Legislature.

Idaho Public Television (IPTV) has new plans for broadcasting, webcasting, recording and archiving of proceedings at the Capitol during the coming 2014 legislative session.
According to Ron Pisaneschi, general manager, Idahoans will have easier access to recorded and archived legislative proceedings, and the proceedings will remain archived long term because of legislation passed earlier this year.

“As per Joint Rule 21, which passed late last year, all official legislative live stream chamber and committee hearings will be archived by ‘Idaho in Session,’” Pisaneschi told IdahoReporter.com. “Idaho in Session” is the name given to IPTV’s service of broadcasting, webcasting and recording of Idaho House and Senate sessions, committee meetings, various court hearings and communications from the governor’s office. The service is a partnership involving IPTV, the Legislative Services Office and the Department of Administration.

Joint Rule 21 is legislation that passed in the Legislature in April of this year. When originally proposed by Senate Majority Leader Bart Davis, R-Idaho Falls, in March, the legislative rules changes allowed for video recordings of Idaho Senate and House sessions to be archived long term, while also allowing members of the House and Senate leadership to restrict Idahoans’ access to the broadcasting and webcasting of the proceedings, and the recordings of the proceedings themselves.

Facing concerns that the ability to close off access to legislative recordings could be abused, Davis revised the plan, presenting the Joint Rule 21 measure. According to Pisaneschi, legislative committee hearings can be restricted from recording and archiving at the discretion of a legislative committee chairman, but only under an “opt-out policy.”

“To make each recording available to the public, IPTV will prepare and upload each file to an online video server,” Pisaneschi explained. “The chamber and committee files will appear as part of a new download section of the Idaho Legislature’s website (the section will eventually appear HERE). The download site will go ‘live’ by the beginning of the 2014 legislative session and will be accessible to anyone without having to request copies. When live, the site will also offer chamber sessions and committee meetings from the 2013 session. We will begin to add files from the 2014 session within 24 hours of meeting adjournment. Also available on the site will be agendas and meeting minutes.”

Pisaneschi pointed out that the long-term archiving of legislative proceedings content represents a substantial shift from IPTV’s past archiving procedures and policies.

“Prior to the legislation, our memorandum of understanding with the legislative counsel was that we were to not keep archives after a specific period of time, and after 7-10 days we'd erase all legislative recordings,” Pisanechi said. “However, at the beginning of the 2013 legislative session as we approached our first erase date, Jeff Youtz, head of the legislative services agency, asked members of the legislative counsel about this, and we in turn were asked to hold off on any erasing plans, pending the new legislative effort.”

In 2012, former IPTV General Manager Peter Morrill noted to IdahoReporter.com that only about 20 percent of the organization’s operational budget came from the Idaho state general fund.

Pisaneschi told IdahoReporter.com that operational support for the 2014 “Idaho in Session” service has been procured by the IPTV sponsorship team, which includes support from the Idaho State Broadcasters Association, “Don’t Fail Idaho” through the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Foundation, Union Pacific Foundation, Idaho Association of Counties, Idaho Cable Telecommunication Association, Association of Idaho Cities and the Idaho Public Television Endowment. Additional funding is provided by the Idaho School Boards Association.

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