The League of Women Voters strongly supports H.B. 2751 to fund this much-needed and important means to increase public access at a low cost to the State. The streaming media or webcasting process will allow members of the public across the state to view and listen to hearings at times that are convenient to them, whether from home or wherever computers are available. Access to archived and indexed video and audio streams will help better inform our citizens, and will certainly also leverage the time and effort of those who wish to testify.
Our citizens can learn a great deal about our legislative process and the issues currently being addressed from viewing or listening to the hearings. It allows us, the public, to gather information and gain the perspectives of those who address issues. We’re able to listen to the testimonies of experts as well as the viewpoints of ordinary citizens and representatives of different industries and other interest groups. It’s an effective way to protect the citizen's right to know and to facilitate citizen participation in government decision making.
The number of states that provide live broadcasts of their proceedings over the Internet and television continues to grow. As of January 2008, live proceedings were available on the Internet from 45 states plus Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Many legislatures also are offering webcasts of committee hearings. About half the states also archive floor or committee proceedings (for varying periods of time). At least 28 states and D.C. broadcast some legislative proceedings on television. We believe that clearly, it’s time for Hawaii to apply this technology to the very important area of representative government.
We strongly urge passage of SB 2751 to appropriate the necessary funding. Thank you for the opportunity to testify.