Oklahoma Senate chamber gets technology upgrades

The Oklahoma Senate is aiming to improve openness and transparency by making video streamed online a higher quality and archiving audio in an easy to find format.
BY MEGAN ROLLAND mrolland@opubco.com Published: December 9, 2012
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The Oklahoma Senate will have a new look when the legislative session begins Feb. 4.

New video equipment in the Senate chamber will allow proceedings to be followed in a far more user-friendly manner. The more than $450,000 overhaul of the video and audio equipment in the Senate also includes improved video in conference rooms for committee meetings and a new electronic voting display in the chamber.

Limited view before

Before the upgrade, streaming video online of the Senate had one, unmoving view shot from the back of the chamber.

Now, high definition cameras have been linked to the audio system and the cameras will focus on whoever is speaking into their microphone on the Senate floor.

“That's going to enable people to have a much clearer picture when they're watching the events of the Senate on the web,” said Malia Bennett, Senate communications director. “They're going to be able to see actual shots of the people talking.”

Additionally, people watching streaming video live online will be provided with a web-link to the actual text of each bill as it is being considered on the floor.

Following the legislative process also will be easier for those sitting in the Senate gallery. A new electronic display at the front of the chamber will provide information, including the bill's title and a list of bills that will be heard.

“The Senate really has been the leader in opening up the process via technology,” Bennett said, adding that efforts to modernize were put on the back-burner during the recession. “But now we can start revisiting those things that are going to make it easier than ever in the history of the state for people to log on and see what the Senate is doing.”


Also ...

Additionally, audio of the Senate will be archived in a new way. Now people can look up a bill and link directly to the place in an audio clip where that bill was discussed.

And streaming audio and video of committee meetings will be available online as well, including links to materials presented in interim studies and committee meetings.

The streaming video and archived audio will be available at www.oksenate.gov.

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