The Idaho Legislature will now archive its audio and video recordings of committee meetings and floor debate. Until now, those audio and video sessions were live-streamed by Idaho Public Television and deleted after five days.
The new rule will require the director of legislative services or a designee to hang on to the recordings for two years. Then, they’ll be transferred to the state archivist for safe keeping.
The Idaho Freedom Foundation has been lobbying the Legislature to keep an audio or video archive of its proceedings in the name of government transparency. The organization began archiving the sessions on its website as a way to push lawmakers to act.
Executive director Wayne Hoffman said in a written press release the passage of Senate Concurrent Resolution 131 is a “monumental positive development for government transparency in our state.”
The resolution passed the Senate unanimously last week. It cleared the house with just one dissenting vote, according to Spokesman-Review reporter Betsy Russell.
“We’re trying to find that sweet spot where we’re allowing these proceedings to be archived in the future, and at the same time protecting the legislative process,” House Majority Leader Mike Moyle, R-Star, told the House. “It’s a necessary new rule, and I think it’s a good new rule and a good start.” – Spokesman-Review, Eye On Boise Blog
The new rule gives lawmakers room to change their minds on archiving sessions. Streaming can be suspended by a two-thirds vote of any committee or chamber that objects.
It’s unclear how much archiving the recordings will cost. The fiscal note attached to the resolution says there is “no immediate and direct fiscal impact.” Idaho Public Television general manager Peter Morrill says they’ll be meeting with legislative services and lawmakers later this spring to put together an operational plan of how the archiving will work.
Morrill says the goal will be to get legislative proceedings online within hours after they’ve occurred.