A bill that would have required Kansas state legislative committee meetings to be filmed and broadcast live over the internet appears to be dead in the water after a hearing in the Committee on Federal and State Affairs. Unfortunately, we cannot discern what happened in that hearing which took place March 13, 2014, aside from noting that the bill did not advance to the Senate, because these committee meetings are not being filmed, as this bill, SB 413, would require.
Knowing what happens in these committee meetings is vital to open government. Before a bill can be voted on by the Kansas House or Senate, the bill has to be approved by a committee, so the legislature cannot pass any law unless a committee first advances the bill. If we cannot see the debates that take place in these committee meetings, we have no way of knowing why certain bills are advanced while others are not, or who is standing in the way of or supporting specific bills.