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Ohio Democratic Lawmaker Pushes to Record All Committee Meetings

Wednesday, September 11, 2013 at 4:58 PM

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A lawmaker wants to give you a better look at what happens inside the Statehouse. His proposal would require every House committee meeting to be video recorded. And he says the state already has the resources to pull it off. Statehouse correspondent Andy Chow has the story.

The Ohio House operates 16 full committees during the legislative session—and during a busy season, many of those committees run at the same time.

Democratic State Rep. Dan Ramos of Lorain says he wants to make sure every Ohioan has the ability to watch these committees without being forced to travel to Columbus. His plan? To set up a camera to record every meeting that happens in the Statehouse.

The House allowed cameras to record every finance committee meeting dealing with the budget. Ramos says he just wants to expand on that.

“My hope is that people can see what actually happens in the legislature and make up their own minds, make an informed decision as to their opinions on—not just the subject—but the kind of work that we do,” Ramos said. “You know, see what we’re working on and see what we’re not working on.”

The state public television station, The Ohio Channel, already records every House and Senate session along with Supreme Court hearings. The channel is overseen by ideastream and also carries programming by the Statehouse News Bureau.

Ramos says he’s talked to the Ohio Channel which told him that the station has the resources and staff to cover every committee meeting.

Mike Dittoe, spokesman for the House Republicans, counters that you can’t just flip a switch and start recording every committee. He argues that it would require more resources.

“It is not an easy process,” Dittoe said, “just because you’re talking about installing new equipment, training and hiring additional staff to have the appropriate manpower to operate the technical equipment for 16 additional committees on top of what is already being done.”

Dittoe says House Speaker Bill Batchelder is all for the idea of recording the meetings, but adds that it’s more complicated than it seems.

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