Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Why? What Are They Afraid Of?

Here's a question that needs an answer right here in the state of New Mexico.

The New Mexico legislature passed, and the governor signed, a bill to let the citizens see how their legislature operates. The cameras were purchased and placed in the Roundhouse (our state capitol building), and the infrastructure was prepared to support webcasting legislative sessions.

But there was a hang-up. The legislative leadership, in both the House and the Senate, decided they wouldn't allow the cameras to be used — and ordered them removed. They are now (reportedly) stored in the capitol basement.

Several legislators are fighting the leadership, even to the point of bringing their own webcams into (so far) committee sessions. We don't yet know how it's going to come out.

Meanwhile, there are some questions that need answers. Why don't the leaders of the legislature want to let the citizenry see them work? What are they doing that they're ashamed of? They claim they're afraid the legislators might start acting differently if the cameras were rolling. Based on what we have seen, that would probably be a good thing.

(One legislator is a bit more honest — he's afraid the cameras will catch him napping in the session, and that will show up in political ads in his next election race.)

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