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Maryland Senate To Vote On Increasing Use Of Webcams In Hearings

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Currently, all floor proceedings in the Maryland statehouse are audio only — no cameras at all — and the same goes for hearings in Senate committees.
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Currently, all floor proceedings in the Maryland statehouse are audio only — no cameras at all — and the same goes for hearings in Senate committees.

Later tonight, the Maryland Senate could vote on a rule change supporters say would bring more transparency to the work of the General Assembly.

Currently, all floor proceedings in the statehouse are audio only — no cameras at all — and the same goes for hearings in Senate committees. Only House committee hearings are broadcast via webcam, but when committees in both branches hold voting sessions to stop legislation or move it to the floor for a full vote, those meetings are almost never broadcast at all.

Tonight, the Senate is scheduled to vote on a rule change that would allow committee chairpersons to broadcast voting sessions at their own discretion. Meanwhile, in the House, Del. Michael Hough of western Maryland wants to go further — the Republican wants webcams broadcasting everything in both branches.

"If you're listening to it you can't actually tell you who's speaking. Because we don't address each other by name, we address each other by region," he says.

But Hough is in the minority party in Annapolis, and so far only fellow Republicans have signed on to support his bill.

"I'm going to reach out to Common Cause and some of the groups on the left, because I think this is something bipartisan that the left and right should support," he says.

A House committee hearing — which would be broadcast via webcam — has yet to be scheduled on the bill.

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