State Rep. Dan Ramos Introduces Legislation To Require Broadcasting Of House Committee Hearings
Ohioans deserve more government transparency and accountability
September 09, 2013
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COLUMBUS – State Rep. Dan Ramos (D-Lorain) introduced legislation today in an effort to increase government transparency and accessibility by requiring the broadcasting of all Ohio House of Representatives legislative hearings. 

The legislation, which has support from members on both sides of the aisle, would require that every standing committee and subcommittee be broadcast and made available to the public. Currently, there are 23 total committees and subcommittees that would fall under the requirements of the proposed law. These panels debate, cast votes on, and make recommendations to the full House regarding proposed legislation on topics such as healthcare, education, economic development, labor rights, veteran’s services, transportation and public safety, among other issues.

“Ensuring transparency in and accessibility to government is one of the primary responsibilities we have as elected officials to the taxpayers across this state,” said Rep. Ramos. “Unfortunately, not everyone is able to travel to Columbus the day of a legislative hearing to witness the testimony that takes place in our Statehouse, but Ohioans still deserve access to their state government.”

Currently, the Ohio House broadcasts full voting sessions on the Ohio Channel. As part of House policy, these broadcasts are made available live on the internet for the public’s convenience and the online streams are then archived and can be viewed anytime simply by going to the Ohio Channel’s website. Earlier this year, the House made live broadcasts of the state budget committee hearings available both on television and online.

“As legislators, we shouldn’t be picking and choosing which committees are broadcast,” said Rep. Ramos. “After the success of broadcasting the Finance Committee’s work this spring, I feel it is time we act more consistently by making all legislative hearings more readily accessible.”

The equipment required to broadcast committee hearings was purchased during a prior General Assembly. However, official House policy was never updated to require the broadcasting of committee hearings. Since the equipment was purchased, it has remained mostly unused and in state storage. As a result of the equipment having already been purchased and because the Ohio Channel staff infrastructure already exists to broadcast House voting sessions, there would be no anticipated additional cost to taxpayers to make this service available. 

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