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PRESS RELEASE- Massachusetts Senate Sessions Now Available Via Webcasts
January 04, 2008

Boston- State Senator Benjamin B. Downing (D-Pittsfield) is pleased to announce that as of January 2nd, residents will be able to view the Senate’s formal sessions in real time through a live webcast on the internet.  Users will also be able access archived sessions.

 

Downing said, “While the business conducted by the Senate during formal sessions has always been open to the public, it is not always possible for people from all corners of the Commonwealth to attend at the State House.  Using the internet as a public portal for access to our debates will certainly help engage more people in the legislative process.  This is a wonderful step forward for government openness and accountability.”

 

Webcasts of the Senate can be accessed through the General Court’s website at www.mass.gov/legis, or through www.masslegislature.tv.  Captioning will be available on each webcast.

 

State House Americans with Disabilities Act Coordinator Carl Richardson said he fully supports the inclusion of captioning with the webcasts, “As someone who relies on captioning, I am very excited about the Massachusetts Legislature’s commitment to provide captioning so the deaf and hard of hearing community can participate fully in their government,” he said. “For many, it will be the first time in their lives they will be able to do so.”

 

Though widely available in more urban parts of the Commonwealth, Downing’s Senate district contains 22 completely unserved communities and 15 additional communities with limited broadband access.  An ambitious proposal filed by Governor Patrick is pending before the Legislature to secure broadband service for every unserved community in the state.   Passage of this legislation has consistently topped Downing’s legislative agenda this session.   “The Senate’s ability to broadcast its sessions online underscores the need to bring broadband access to every city and town in the Commonwealth.  I will continue to advocate hard every day to advance the Governor’s broadband proposal this year, so that my constituents will enjoy equal access to today’s technologies from their homes and offices.”

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