Recognizing changes in technology have made recording and photography equipment less disruptive than in the past, the legislation would allow citizens to record and even broadcast meetings (even on cable), so long as the activity wasn’t disruptive to the meeting. The law would allow government boards to establish rules such as where the equipment and personnel could be located in the room. But they couldn’t regulate what was being recorded.
It’s ridiculous that you can observe a proceeding in person, but not record it. This measure would expose more citizens to the goings-on of government by allowing people who can’t attend meetings to view recorded versions at a time and place that’s convenient to them. As we’ve said repeatedly, the more the citizens observe government activities by attending meetings and requesting documents, the more responsive government bodies are forced to become. This measure just furthers that end.
The bill, which is strongly supported by the New York Newspaper Publishers Association, is sponsored by two friends of open government, Assemblywoman RoAnn Destito of Rome and Sen. John DeFrancisco of Syracuse. The Assembly has already passed its version, while the Senate version was stopped in the majority leader’s office near the end of the recently concluded legislative session.
To read the bill and accompanying memos — it’s really cut and dried — go to the state Senate Web site, www.senate.state.ny.us. and click on Bills & Laws in the lefthand menu. Then plug in either the Senate bill number, S2053, or the Assembly bill number, A1111.