Legislature(2009 - 2010)BELTZ 105 (TSBldg)

01/28/2010 09:00 AM Senate STATE AFFAIRS

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
<Bill Hearing Canceled>
Moved SB 184 Out of Committee
Moved CSSB 194(STA) Out of Committee
          SB 184-INTERNET ACCESS TO LEG COMMITTEE MTGS                                                                      
9:03:21 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR MENARD said the first order  of business to come before the                                                               
committee was SB 184.                                                                                                           
SENATOR  FRENCH, sponsor  of SB  184,  said the  capitol is  best                                                               
brought to Alaska through the  Internet. Some parts of Alaska are                                                               
remote  and inaccessible  in relation  to the  state capitol,  no                                                               
matter where  it is in  the state.  He felt that  every committee                                                               
room should  be feeding  a stream of  information to  the laptops                                                               
and handheld  devices of Alaska's  citizens and this can  be done                                                               
with  the  simple, reliable  and  inexpensive  technology of  web                                                               
cameras. He  said he can  foresee a  day when citizens  of Alaska                                                               
will  watch what  is happening  in  the capitol  over their  cell                                                               
SENATOR  FRENCH  said  he  filed  SB  184  last  spring  and  the                                                               
Legislative   Council  became   interested.   Working  with   the                                                               
Legislative  Information Office  (LIO), they  began to  implement                                                               
the idea.                                                                                                                       
SUE GULLUFSEN, Manager  of the LIO, said  she received permission                                                               
from  Senate and  House  Rules Committee  Chairs  to implement  a                                                               
pilot project and to use  some funds from Legislative Council for                                                               
consulting fees. She did not use  the funds because her IT staff,                                                               
Jake Carpenter and Tim Powers, developed the pilot project in-                                                                  
house. She said  her staff outfitted the House  Health and Social                                                               
Services  committee (HHSS)  room with  webcams. [She  showed live                                                               
streaming  video coverage  of the  House State  Affairs committee                                                               
meeting  from  her  laptop  which projected  on  the  wall.]  Ms.                                                               
Gullufsen pointed out  that a small screen  showed the testifiers                                                               
and  a big  screen showed  the committee  members simultaneously.                                                               
She said the  Butrovich Room was also outfitted  with two cameras                                                               
in the same manner.                                                                                                             
9:07:40 AM                                                                                                                    
MS.  GULLUFSEN explained  that  the  audio feed  is  tied to  the                                                               
teleconference  feed and  will go  silent during  an At  Ease and                                                               
upon  adjournment  of  the  meeting.  Ms.  Gullufsen  noted  that                                                               
webcams are good but not TV production quality.                                                                                 
MS. GULLUFSON said  that if the pilot project  is successful, she                                                               
will  ask for  funding  from  Legislative Council  or  if SB  184                                                               
becomes  law,  funding  will go  through  the  Finance  Committee                                                               
process. LIO would outfit the  seven remaining committee rooms in                                                               
the capitol  building making every committee  meeting held during                                                               
the session  accessible online. She  explained that while  SB 184                                                               
would not mandate  that all video and audio be  archived, the LIO                                                               
intended to  do so. People  could go back  later and see  or hear                                                               
any committee  meeting that  took place  during session  which is                                                               
helpful for committee aides and the public.                                                                                     
9:09:37 AM                                                                                                                    
MS.  GULLUFSEN  said  she  would need  $56,000  to  outfit  seven                                                               
committee rooms and pay a  part-time staff person to monitor from                                                               
the new  media services office on  the second floor of  the Terry                                                               
Miller building.                                                                                                                
MATT  WALLACE, Alaska  Public  Interest  Research Group  (AKPIRG)                                                               
said that AKPIRG is a  statewide citizen oriented non-profit non-                                                               
partisan public interest advocacy group. AKPIRG supports SB 184.                                                                
9:12:30 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. WALLACE  said people outside of  the capitol will be  able to                                                               
closely monitor what  goes on and citizens will be  able to watch                                                               
the   proceedings  of   the  state.   Public  participation   and                                                               
monitoring  should  be  encouraged;  the  more  sunshine  on  the                                                               
legislative process,  the better. He  encouraged the use  of open                                                               
and cross-platform  standards so  that the most  people possible,                                                               
using the widest range of technology, can take advantage of it.                                                                 
ARLISS  STURGULEWSKI,  former  Alaska  state  Senator,  spoke  in                                                               
support  of SB  184. She  said  that SB  184 is  related to  past                                                               
actions to make government more accessible  and is a good step to                                                               
further maximize  citizen's access to their  legislative decision                                                               
makers.  State residents  want and  welcome  information and  she                                                               
suggests the legislators should make  it clear and easy for their                                                               
constituents, particularly  older people, to understand  where to                                                               
find information and how to use this new technology.                                                                            
9:15:38 AM                                                                                                                    
CLARK  GRUENING, with  the City  and  Borough of  Juneau and  the                                                               
Alaska Committee,  spoke in support of  SB 184. He said  the City                                                               
and Borough of  Juneau supports and largely funds  Gavel to Gavel                                                               
and that  the Alaska  Committee has worked  to improve  access to                                                               
the capitol and  also supports Gavel to Gavel.  However, Gavel to                                                               
Gavel  is not  in  every committee  room  simultaneously. SB  184                                                               
would  lead  to  every  committee being  accessible  through  the                                                               
Internet. He  noted that KTOO,  the force behind Gavel  to Gavel,                                                               
is in support of SB 184.                                                                                                        
9:18:27 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR MENARD closed public testimony.                                                                                           
SENATOR MEYER asked  if users will have to  add additional memory                                                               
to  their computers  or handheld  devices and  if the  video will                                                               
come across slowly or in real time.                                                                                             
JAKE  CARPENTER,  Legislative  Information Office,  replied  that                                                               
they  use  FLASH  which  is  the same  technology  used  by  many                                                               
websites such as Youtube or Hulu.  Most MAC's and PC's have FLASH                                                               
installed. The  video is not  high definition and  most computers                                                               
should be  able to view it.  He said that people  with dial-up or                                                               
slow connections will  not get the same quality  of service. Once                                                               
the meeting is over, however, it will be downloadable.                                                                          
SENATOR  MEYER  asked  if  a  1990  computer  would  need  to  be                                                               
MR. CARPENTER replied yes.                                                                                                      
9:20:47 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  MEYER  moved  to  report  SB  184  from  committee  with                                                               
individual  recommendations and  attached  fiscal note(s).  There                                                               
being no  objection, SB 184  moved from the Senate  State Affairs                                                               
Standing Committee.                                                                                                             

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