In a surprise move, Senate votes to begin archiving webcasts

A statue outside the Roundhouse in Santa Fe.

Heath Haussamen / NMPolitics.net

A statue outside the Roundhouse in Santa Fe.

Upon convening Tuesday, the N.M. Senate voted to begin preserving video recordings of its meetings and posting them online for people to view at their convenience.

That means starting immediately webcasts of House and Senate meetings will be archived online for members of the public to view at their convenience. The House voted last year to begin archiving starting today, first of this year’s 60-day session.

Senators, upon convening just after noon on Tuesday, unanimously approved a surprise motion from new Majority Leader Peter Wirth, D-Santa Fe, to begin archiving. The vote was not scheduled and had not been announced publicly in advance.

“This is an important step toward increased openness and transparency,” Sen. Bill Soules, D-Las Cruces, tweeted after the vote.

The N.M. Foundation for Open Government agreed. Executive Director Peter St. Cyr tweeted that the change was a “big opening day win.”

The change the Senate approved today means video of floor sessions and committee meetings during legislative sessions will be archived. Joint interim committee meetings held in between sessions are webcast, but the Legislature has not approved archiving of those meetings.

John Yaeger, assistant director for legislative affairs at the Legislative Council Service, confirmed that the Senate change takes effect immediately. “Same set up as the House. Floor and committee meetings will be archived, starting now,” he said.

Before the session started, the Senate appeared to be moving toward webcasting. Wirth recently told NMPolitics.net that archiving Senate webcasts “seems to make sense.” Sen. Jeff Steinborn, D-Las Cruces, who sponsored the legislation to implement House archiving when he served in that chamber, said he was talking with Wirth about implementing Senate archiving. And Sen. Sander Rue, R-Albuquerque, had introduced legislation to archive webcasts.

Live legislative webcasts and recorded archives can be viewed here.

This BBSNews article was syndicated from NMPolitics.net, and written by Heath Haussamen, NMPolitics.net. Read the original article here.