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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session


Posted: January 29, 2021 11:20 AM
From: Senator Katie J. Muth and Sen. Lindsey M. Williams
To: All Senate members
Subject: Rules Reform: Live Video Feed of Senate Floor
In the near future, we will be introducing a resolution amending the Senate Operating Rules to ensure that live video feed of the Senate Chamber includes coverage of the entire Senate Floor. This proposed resolution is among a package of Senate Rules Reform Resolutions, many of which are included in SR4 intended to empower members of both sides of the aisle to effectively advocate for their constituents. This package of Rules Reforms will ensure transparency in the legislative process, encourage public participation, and hold members accountable to the public. 

Currently, under Rule 23, it is the responsibility of the Chief Clerk of the Senate, in consultation with the Secretary-Parliamentarian of the Senate, to “provide a video feed and audio feed of Senate Floor activity.” However, in subsection (d) Scope of video and audio feeds, the rule limits what can be shown on the feed: 
  • “(2) To the extent possible, only the presiding officer and the persons actually speaking shall be covered by the video cameras and microphones.
  • (3) During roll call votes and other votes, the video cameras shall be focused on the presiding officer or the appropriate clerks until the announcement of the vote tabulation by the presiding officer.”
The public should be able to hold its elected officials accountable and, therefore, should be able to see who is on the floor, to observe when a Senator casts a vote, and to get a general sense of what the real floor activity looks like. Because most members of the public cannot attend and observe session in person, we should provide a video feed that best represents the entire Senate session and gives the most amount of information possible.

This resolution requires that video feed of the senate be expanded to include live camera coverage of the Senate Floor, increasing transparency by ensuring the public has direct, timely access to all parts of the legislative process.

Please join us in cosponsoring this important change to the Senate Operating Rules.

Introduced as SR86