What a disappointment that Kansas House leaders are unwilling to allow a floor vote to enable online viewing of legislative hearings.
Kansas already is way behind most other states in streaming video or audio of its state government proceedings – embarrassingly so, especially after having spent $325 million to update its beautiful Capitol. Unless Kansans drive to Topeka, they can follow their Legislature firsthand only via live online audio from the House and Senate floors.
Seeing the urgency earlier in April, the Senate unanimously approved an affordable pilot program to allow Kansans to watch some committee hearings live online.
But on Wednesday’s first day of the wrap-up session, news came that the bill was dead, with House Federal and State Affairs Committee Chairman Steve Brunk, R-Wichita, saying, “It has run out of time.”
This is the same chamber that passed a bill in March to mandate K-12 “instruction and training on the importance and execution of an effective professional handshake” and the same legislative session in which there was sufficient time in January to conduct ultrasound exams on two pregnant women in a committee hearing.
The sad truth is that House leaders just don’t consider it worthy of their time to improve public access to the Statehouse. Before the gavel comes down on the session, they should reconsider.