Early discussions afoot on archiving audio and video of Idaho Legislature's proceedings

Upgrades in the remodeled Capitol made for a huge advance in
public access to the proceedings
of the House and Senate. Floor actions are available on live video and audio is live-streamed from committees.

But the question of whether to preserve the digital record has been a largely behind-the-scenes conversation among top legislative leaders. The technology exists, says Idaho Public TV General Manager, but current policy calls for destruction of the Legislature's digital audio and video after five days.

Senate Majority Leader Bart Davis, R-Idaho Falls, is a leading skeptic. "I have a variety of serious concerns about it," Davis told me Friday.

Davis co-wrote a 2007 Idaho Law Review article about the import of legislative history, titled, "Use of Legislative History: Willow Witching for Legislative Intent." His co-authors were then-Senate Minority Leader Kate Kelly, D-Boise, and the Legislature's librarian, Kristin Ford. All three authors are lawyers.

Davis agrees with many traditionalists that the journals of the House and Senate and committee minutes should comprise the legislative history, which Davis, Kelly and Ford define as "any and all public documents relating to the law when it was still a bill in the legislature."

Last month, the matter was raised at a meeting of the Legislative Council, the joint governing body of the Legislature, under the agenda item, "Should IPTV coverage of committee and floor action be archived?"

The answer, for now, is "No."

Legislative Services Office Director Jeff Youtz said other states keep digital archives and expects that Legislative Council will revisit the issue.

Davis agreed, saying, "It is a conversation and it will continue."

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1355541883 Early discussions afoot on archiving audio and video of Idaho Legislature's proceedings Idaho Statesman Copyright 2014 Idaho Statesman . All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

They don't want an honest

They don't want an honest history.

We'd actually know what they do!

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Apple users, run the Gig of RAM your PC needs to have and read the dumb tech white papers, wrinkle your forehead and buy more food and toilet paper with the difference. The internet is a piece of junk anyway and your cats know this.

This goes to the heart of the 'Imperial Legislature'

Same bunch of atavistic bozos who refuse to grant constitutional home rule powers to Idaho's towns, cities, and counties. Only state like that west of the Mississippi.

Backward, backward, backward...especially in this Internet age!

Why is that so important? EXPLAIN, PLEASE.

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Apple users, run the Gig of RAM your PC needs to have and read the dumb tech white papers, wrinkle your forehead and buy more food and toilet paper with the difference. The internet is a piece of junk anyway and your cats know this.

Why? for a cutsey-pie response before the meds kick in?

...because the weenies at the Statesman sure don't have the cohones to kick you off.

If you think I'm going to stand for the kind of CRAP being...

posted on either section of this site this week, you may need psychological care yourself.

Knock it off, Paine.

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Apple users, run the Gig of RAM your PC needs to have and read the dumb tech white papers, wrinkle your forehead and buy more food and toilet paper with the difference. The internet is a piece of junk anyway and your cats know this.

And those "serious concerns" are what, exactly?

Did Rep. Davis decline to articulate any of the many serious concerns he has, or did Mr. Popkey fail to ask him to articulate them?

On a sidenote, data storage is cheap. Streaming video and audio can be easily captured and archived. An enterprising group of citizens with a few terabytes of hard-drive space could render "current policy" moot.

Regarding Davis' concerns: see below

Senate Majority Leader Bart Davis suggests that those who favor archiving read his law review article.

I apologize for not being clear, but his core concern is that archival would jeopardize the standing of the journals of the House and Senate the committee minutes as the principal record of legislative history.

Here's the relevant paragraph from above:

Davis agrees with many traditionalists that the journals of the House and Senate and committee minutes should comprise the legislative history, which Davis, Kelly and Ford define as "any and all public documents relating to the law when it was still a bill in the legislature."

Thanks for reading,

Dan Popkey

Dan, and it would point out

Dan, and it would point out the inaccuracies of some of the committee minutes.

An accurate record is preferable

Without tracking down this Law Review article, I don't know if the technical and logistic issues were stated as determining, but reducing a video record to a journal discards information. If relevant parties can refer to the original, there would arguably be less "willow witching" than we have now. Both text and utterances can be ambiguous, but the latter have more information to potentially resolve ambiguity.

I don't know if it's still true

but JFAC used to tape record its sessions, and that *was* the archive.

With the committee hearings (exceot, interestingly, fir Ways and Means) being streamed, you could archive the whole session for 100 gb or so.

Idaho Public Televisionm is supposed to televise some of this?

I'm certain they RECORD it, it shows up on Idaho Reports and Kevin, Betsy and Trahn? talk about it.

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Apple users, run the Gig of RAM your PC needs to have and read the dumb tech white papers, wrinkle your forehead and buy more food and toilet paper with the difference. The internet is a piece of junk anyway and your cats know this.