FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 28, 2016
Representatives introduce capitol transparency bill

TOPEKA—Representative Blake Carpenter (R-Derby) and Representative John Whitmer (R-Wichita) on Thursday introduced a bill that provides for the livestreaming of legislative committee proceedings on the internet through the Information Network of Kansas (INK).

The bill, HB 2573, would give the director of Legislative Administrative Services the authority to work with INK on behalf of the Legislative Coordinating Council to fund and install technology in committee rooms, in order to stream audio to the internet.

“This is a new solution to bring committee hearings to constituents all across Kansas,” said Rep. Whitmer. “This bill provides the mechanism for internet audio streaming, but also has flexibility and funding through an already established state resource.”

Established in 1990, INK is designed to oversee the development of electronic avenues of government information to the general public, businesses, and other governments. The board that oversees the organization consists of appointments from the executive branch, user associations, and the Kansas Secretary of State’s office.

“This bill authorizes cooperation between the already existing resources within INK, and the legislature, to livestream capital committee rooms,” said Rep. Carpenter. “This goes beyond tweeting or making a pledge to be open. This bill represents creative problem-solving to find a new and workable solution that will get the job done and bring committee hearings to anyone who wants to listen in.”

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Here’s a summary of HB 2573:

Kansas Transparency Act

· A new bill (HB 2573) introduced will allow the legislature to partner with the Information Network of Kansas to live stream committee hearings on the internet.

· INK is designed to work with state agencies and local governments to open electronic avenues of government information to the public.

· The bill works by adding the livestreaming of legislative proceedings to INK’s statutory responsibilities.

· The initiative is different from other past transparency bills that have been introduced because it identifies a funding source that already exists within state government.

· Funding managed by the INK Board will be coordinated to pay for legislative committee hearing streaming in cooperation with the director of Legislative Administrative Services on behalf of the Legislative Coordinating Council.

· Live streaming of the floor debates is already available online, as are the full text of any bill that is introduced, minutes of committee meetings, and committee documents.

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