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Bill Would Allow Cameras Inside Md. General Assembly Hearings

This would be similar to watching government hearings on C-SPAN.
FREDERICK, Md. - You may soon be able to see your lawmakers at work in the Maryland General Assembly.

Delegate Michael Hough, who represents Frederick and Washington Counties, wants to sponsor a bill to allow cameras inside the Maryland State House and in committee hearings. This would be similar to watching government hearings on C-SPAN.

"While they can listen in and hear our floor sessions on the house floor, they can't watch them, which is astounding to me given that webcams now. This is something that would be very inexpensive, and I think it's something that's badly needed in Annapolis," says Hough (R).

Hough says citizens using cameras came into play during the controversial gun control bill vote.

"For instance, on the gun bill, a number of people actually recording it on their own, and there's one YouTube clip out there that's gotten thousands of hits when the committee chairman decided after an amendment was passed to revote on it, and then they defeated it," Hough says. "These are the kinds of shenanigans and back room things that happen all the time in Annapolis. The only difference was this time a citizens was sitting in there with a camera."

Hough believes having cameras in Annapolis would make voting and hearings more transparent and could allow people to be more aware of how where their legislators stand.

"It's always struck me that there's really a lack of ability for citizens to watch what's going on in Annapolis. There's a real lack of transparency," Hough says. "This is really a problem when you have a super-Democrat majority down there constantly break their own rules and in this case, citizens should be able to turn on their computer and watch the sessions of the general assembly."

The 2014 session of the Maryland General Assembly will begin in January.

In a typical session, thousands of bills are introduced but only about 600 to 700 pass.
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