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State Assembly plans to televise sessions, but Senate declines

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    NMU         NEW YORK         Broadcasting         Apr 19, 2001    

State Assembly plans to televise sessions, but Senate declines

  • The decision to show Assembly proceedings marks the third time this year a legislature has opted for televised coverage.

The New York State Assembly later this year will join the ranks of 25 states that already televise their legislatures.

Chamber leaders announced April 17 that the Assembly will begin broadcasting its deliberations live before the end of the current session, which could last into the summer. A 10-member committee is continuing deliberations with cable industry representatives to decide broadcast options, including the location of the session.

The State Senate will not air its session, but plans to add a live video feed on the Internet to supplement the audio feed that began earlier this year.

Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno (R-Brunswick) told The New York Times that televising the proceedings would be too costly. A legislative task force last year estimated the cost at $30 million a year. The figure is more than 10 times the amount any other state pays to televises its legislature, according to a report commissioned by Common Cause and released in mid-April by researchers at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. The report said 25 states’ legislatures provide televised broadcasts and details to what extent the coverage entails.

Assemblyman Ronald Canestrari told The New York Times that the Assembly has not decided who will direct the television coverage, thus deciding which camera angles to use and which debates to rebroadcast in the evening.

Along with the New York State Assembly, the Illinois and Wisconsin state legislatures also will begin televising their proceedings this year.


© 2001 The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press

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