State Rep. Jeff Steinborn wants to expand official legislative webcasting to interim committee meetings held around the state and make permanent a rule that allows webcasting of House committee meetings during sessions.
But, based on last year’s discussion that resulted in the first House rules governing webcasting, one of two related pieces of legislation Steinborn has introduced may need to be reworked – if its aim is to continue to allow unofficial webcasting of committee meetings by lawmakers, journalists and others.
Steinborn, D-Las Cruces, said in a news release that the goal of House Resolution 2 and House Joint Memorial 15 is to put House committee meetings and joint House/Senate interim meetings “on a path to providing full transparency of the committee process.” He also said webcasting interim committee meetings could cut down on lawmakers’ per diem and mileage reimbursements and save taxpayers money.
Last year, the House approved two rules governing webcasting of committee meetings during sessions. The first, 9-5-7, allows “photography, video or audio recording or transmission of committee proceedings” with permission of the committee’s chair.
The second rule – a temporary rule that expires at the end of this year – authorizes Legislative Council Service, with permission from House leadership, to webcast audio of House committee meetings.
Steinborn’s HR2 seeks to make the second rule permanent – but in doing so, it combines the two rules into one.
“Photography, video or audio recording or transmission of committee proceedings may, upon request, be allowed with the permission of the chair, provided that the chair of each standing substantive committee shall cooperate with the legislative council service to produce a live audio or audio and video stream of the committee’s proceedings within budget and technological constraints,” part of Steinborn’s proposed rule states.
House members who crafted the webcasting rules last year intentionally kept them separate, so it would be clear that official webcasting by Legislative Council Service is allowed, but so is unofficial webcasting by lawmakers, journalists and others.
If Steinborn wants a rule that explicitly allows unofficial webcasting, his resolution might need to be amended.
As for HJM 15: If it’s approved by the House and Senate, the memorial would request that Legislative Council Service, “within budgetary and technological constraints,” webcast audio and video of interim committee meetings starting this year. The rule doesn’t deal with unofficial webcasting.
The New Mexico Independent has been allowed to webcast interim committee meetings in the past.
Steinborn provided a video statement about his two pieces of legislation. Here it is: