The Ohio House opened its 130th session on (Jan. 7) by vowing to be more open with constituents, by expanding the use of technology.
House Speaker William G. Batchelder announced that for the first time, some House committee hearings, particularly those involving the state’s next two-year budget, will be broadcast live online and on public-access television. The House also will broadcast those hearings on issues that are of special interest to the public, he said.
The broadcasts will make it easier for average Ohioans — who can’t just drop everything and come to Columbus to attend these sessions — to see in real time what their representatives are doing and saying on their behalf.
Knowing that the public is looking over their shoulder as they work might have a salutary effect on lawmakers. And the Ohio Senate should consider emulating the House.
The House committees also plan to move toward going paperless, with electronic tablets for bills and amendments. Not only does that cut expenses and waste, it also allows the public to access documents online more quickly.