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Bill would allow for live streaming of legislative committee hearings

  • Eagle Topeka bureau
  • Published Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014, at 7:22 p.m.

A pair of Kansas lawmakers hope to make government more transparent by live streaming committee hearings online.

Sen. Kay Wolf, R-Prairie Village, has introduced a Senate version of the Transparency and Accountability Act. It is a revised version of House Bill 2438, which was authored by Rep. Stephanie Clayton, R-Overland Park, and introduced earlier in the session.

Clayton’s bill, which would have made all legislative committee meetings available to stream online, stalled in the Appropriations Committee when it was stuck with $850,000 price tag.

Clayton, who was elected to the House in 2012, joked that her original bill was the product of a green and overly idealistic legislator.

Wolf helped Clayton scale down the idea, so that four committee meeting rooms would be set up for streaming. Senate Bill 413 would cost $130,000 to set up and then $50,000 each year afterward.

If the Legislature approves the bill, it will be money well spent, Clayton said.

“There are many people who represent districts that are five hours away from Topeka. Those people, those constituents, have every right to have those proceedings brought to them,” Clayton said. “They’re paying us. They need to see our proceedings.”

“It is bringing accountability to us, and making things more accessible to taxpayers,” Clayton said.

Reach Bryan Lowry at 785-296-3006 or blowry@wichitaeagle.com. Follow him on Twitter: @BryanLowry3.

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