Sen. Jonathan Dismang made a promising announcement when Roby Brock interviewed him earlier this week: Dismang said that he’s open-minded about broadcasting/live-streaming state Senate procedures. Dismang’s statement creates a welcome contrast with other members of the Senate leadership, who have been pointedly dismissive about shining a light onto Senate deliberations.
I think it’s something we’ll discuss, but it’s something we’ll discuss as a whole. It would not be my decision solely to move forward either way,” he said. “In some ways, it is something I’m supportive of. I’d like to have that broadcast and have that representation out there. But again, the Senate is a little bit different body. For instance, we don’t use microphones on the Senate floor. That would have to change if we’re going to be recording or videoing what we do.
More transparency of Senate deliberations – especially Senate committees – would be a great step forward for Arkansas government. Such transparency might shrink anti-accountability procedural embarrassments that take place regularly in the Senate, such as rolling votes on the floor and thumb-on-the-scale counting of voice votes in Senate committees. AAI wrote about these issues in more detail at pp. 77-81 of its 2013 Action Plan for Arkansas.