Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Arnold-Jones and KUNM deserve props

marjorie says...

After writing an initial piece about the plans of Janice Arnold-Jones to webcast her committees at the New Mexico legislature, I was so snowed under the past couple of days that I haven't had much time to pay attention--beyond watching the inaugural webcasting run. But I hope you all have.

While legislators keep debating the merits of webcasting (New Mexico is only one of about five states that don't broadcast their legislative debates), public radio station KUNM is picking up the slack--you can listen to the Senate floor debates, and occasional House and Committee debates, throughout the session.

And Arnold-Jones says she'll continue webcasting until she is officially forced to stop--talk about getting the old-school legislators at the Roundhouse in an uproar.

When Arnold-Jones turned on her web camera Monday afternoon, you'd think the world was coming to an end. Committee Chair Edward Sandoval asked her to turn it off, but she refused. House Speaker Ben Lujan didn't look happy in the least--in fact he look quite perturbed even though he tried to hide it. And he chided her for not speaking to him about it in advance.

Webcasting is now being "studied" by a subcommittee of the House Rules committee. Arnold-Jones is still webcasting. And a lively debate has erupted in the House about webcasting. You can read about it over on the NMI and Heath Haussamen's site. Haussamen took Lujan to task on his blog, and the Speaker made a point of saying at the Rules committee yesterday that he wasn't opposed to webcasting, despite what a certain blogger in Las Cruces says.

Best quote of the entire debacle (not to mention headline)? From Trip Jennings report yesterday, Sleepy lawmakers can rest easy for now:

Among the critics of the proposal was Rep. Ray Begaye, D-Shiprock, who said during the committee meeting that he worried about lawmakers’ privacy and of potentially embarrassing moments being captured on camera.
“If I am sleeping and I am being recorded, that can be used as political gain,” Begaye said.

Yes, he really said that.