The Key Word Here is Public
Here we go again. Those that we elect to serve in public office (mind you the key word here is “public”) would prefer to operate under the cover of darkness:
In a decision that was partly fueled by the governor’s videos, the Senate voted to restrict webcasting, photography, and video or audio recording of Senate committees by the public unless there is permission from a panel’s chairman and ranking minority-party member. The rule was adopted on a 35-3 vote.
Apparently, this is one of those elitist bureaucratic decisions that enjoys strong bipartisan support. What is the motivating factor behind restricting public access to public meetings, paid for by the public in a building built by the public? Well, according to Senator Dede Feldman, it appears that our elected officials are concerned they might actually be held accountable for their actions:
Is this a trend? We’re not sure yet, but in the following committee meeting, where several DWI bills that the Governor is supporting were presented, her staff appeared with little cameras in hand to tape the proceedings. They did not ask permission from the Chair (me), which is protocol on both the floor and in committees, so I am cynical about how they intend to use the material. I’m a great fan of opening committee hearings to the news media, but this felt different. Since the staffers did not speak to me, I do not know how they intend to use the footage, but several present felt it was intimidation, meant to remind Senators that their comments would be used in campaign ads next year. Hmm.
Oh no, horror of horrors. What’s the world coming to when elected public officials might be held accountable for comments they make in public hearings? That’s just not fair. We’ve elected them, and they should just be allowed to rule the state in peace without being concerned about peering eyes. Upcoming elections should be events ruled by civility where the voting populace makes a decision, not based on actual performance, but instead based on the quality of the touched up pictures and senatorial likeness of those in office, and the claims of great deeds they’ve performed in our name regardless of what they’ve actually said or done in committee meetings.