Top: House Speaker Larry Householder Bottom: House Democratic Leader Emilia Sykes [Dispatch file photos]
If you’re into government accountability — or perhaps masochism — you’ll likely agree with House Speaker Larry Householder that Tuesday was “a very exciting day” in Ohio legislative history.
The House added TV cameras to another committee hearing room, on the way to wiring all nine by the end of the summer.
The Glenford Republican said Ohio will join 12 other states with both live-streaming and on-demand video of their legislature.
The Senate already streams five committees: Finance, Health Human Services and Medicaid, Local Government, Transportation and Commerce and Workforce and Education. Full sessions of each legislative body already are shown via the Ohio Channel.
The addition by the House “allows Ohioans to see and hear their legislators working on their behalf. It allows them to have unfiltered, unedited access to the actions in the Statehouse,” Householder said during a press conference in the newly wired hearing room.
The first gathering in that room was of the House Health Committee, where the controversial “Heartbeat Bill” was being considered.
No final cost has been determined.
Rep. Emilia Strong Sykes, House Democratic leader from Akron, said Ohioans now miss out on important hearings on proposed laws that affect their lives. The online video of “the People’s House” also will make lawmakers better because they will be more accountable, she said.
“Increasing transparency and making government more accessible lets taxpayers know we’re working for them — together — to restore Ohio’s promise as a place where you can live, work and have the opportunity to get ahead.”
An additional committee room will go online next week, with the remaining six coming this spring and summer.
Increasing public access to hearings was a Householder pledge to Democrats whose support enabled him to become speaker.
Darrel Rowland, The Columbus Dispatch,March 19, 2019
Now, you can catch more Ohio House proceedings online