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Senate Passes Bill to Require Broadcasting of Votes

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As I wrote earlier this month, the New York State Legislature hasn't really got its act together when it comes to using technology to share information with the public. The Assembly has been the worst offender by often failing to broadcast or even print online the results of session and committee votes.

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A bill sponsored by Sen. Carl Marcellino that passed the Senate today 54-0 and enjoyed co-sponsors from both sides of the aisle aims to change that. The bill S30468 requires that committee and floor votes are made public online and that session and committee meetings are webcast.

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"We greatly appreciate the Senate acting on this bill," said Alex Camarda director of public policy and advocacy for Citizens Union, which has been lobbying for the legislation.

Citizens Union is the sister organization of Gotham Gazette.

Camarda said sharing the results of votes with the public is "fundamental" for any Legislature.

The bill now goes to the Assembly, where its future is uncertain. Its sponsor in that chamber, Assemblyman Andrew Hevesi told the Gazette earlier this month: “With the passage of this bill, legislators will be made accountable to the public not just for their floor votes and statements, but also their committee votes and discussions that take place therein, which is of the utmost importance in shaping and guiding the legislative agendas of each house. These are simple and common sense steps that Albany can take to continue its pursuit of providing transparency within the New York State government."

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