ANNAPOLIS – The Maryland Senate will begin televising chamber deliberations and committee hearings in February.
The limited, but unedited, coverage will air from midnight to 2:00 a.m. Tuesday through Thursday on Maryland Public Television stations.
Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr., D-Prince George’s, said he hopes to expand that to full coverage someday.
“By televising our proceedings we will make it possible for constituents from every corner of the state to learn firsthand what their elected officials are advocating on their behalf,” said Miller in an announcement.
Miller has considered the idea for the last four or five years and put money in the budget for a digitally equipped television studio under construction in the new Senate office building scheduled to open within the next couple of weeks.
Twenty-one states offer video coverage of their state legislative bodies, some over network television, others over the Internet, according to data from the National Conference of State Legislatures.
Virginia has aired the proceedings of its House of Delegates and Senate live over closed-circuit televisions in government buildings in Richmond for at least 15 years, said John Garrett, Virginia Senate deputy clerk.
Last year, audio proceedings of the Maryland Senate and House of Delegates were broadcast live on the Internet and are archived there for future use.
Maryland’s Senate leadership aides will determine which proceedings are covered based on predicted public interest and will advertise them in advance on MPT to help increase the early-morning audience.