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Capitol crews bring government to TV screens

Capitol TV crew in action. From foreground to back, Conrado Bush, Rana Kuwaye, Renee Richardson, Glenn Booth. (Photo courtesy of Public Access Room)

Special to Hawaii 24/7

Hawaii’s legislators have long recognized the crucial role that citizens play in a representative democracy, and have been committed to giving our citizens useful tools to help us be more involved in our own governance.

The legislative broadcast project – Capitol TV – is among the most helpful of the resources they have provided. As one of the first states in the nation to bring live and tape- delayed television coverage of legislative committee hearings, informational briefings, and floor sessions into people’s living rooms, we average roughly 350 hours of coverage every year.

This enables a more involved populace to help create those healthy, productive debates that are so essential to a well-functioning democracy.

It takes a great deal of cooperation to bring the legislature’s proceedings onto your screen.

Glenn Booth, Capitol TV producer, and his crew have worked diligently over the years to mold this project into what it is today. As the Public Access Room contracted content provider, Booth and his crew make use of facilities and equipment provided by the legislature as well as Olelo Community Media.

The Public Access Coordinator, Suzanne Marinelli, works with Capitol TV, scheduling the televising of the hearings. She also selects which of the Senate hearings to be broadcast, while the House Vice- Speaker’s office works with committee chairs to decide which of the House hearings will be broadcast.

The selected hearings (and occasional floor sessions) are televised live on Oahu on the Olelo channels, and via HITS (Hawaii Interactive Television Services) to the neighbor islands for live or tape delayed airing on the PEG (Public, Educational and Governmental) Access Channels (Na Leo on Hawaii, Hoike on Kauai, and Akaku on Maui, Molokai and Lanai). In case you miss the live event, there’s a rebroadcast as well.

Live television is a challenge, and the crew must remain focused because, as one of the crew said, “You only get one chance to do the very best job you can do.”

Before rolling the cameras, the crew must make sure the cameras are strategically placed for each broadcast. Carefully chosen camera angles can make you feel like an actual part of the hearing. Broadcast hearings typically last from 2 to 3 hours, though some can run more than three times that long.

Not near a television set? When events are broadcast, they are also live-streamed so that you can watch them on your computer.

Just visit the Hawaii State Legislative website at www.capitol.hawaii.gov and click on the button labeled “Broadcasts” (lower right-hand side of page). This takes you to the
going to be televised), the Senate webstreaming page and the House webstreaming page.

Additionally, if you missed the opportunity to watch an event live, you can go to the Senate or House webstreaming page and scroll down to the “on demand” section to view all the archived broadcasts.

The available archives date back to the 2009 session for the Senate and 2011 for the House. (This year, you’ll also find all the House floor sessions on the page, though those events haven’t been broadcast or produced by Capitol TV.)

New video: ‘We the Powerful’

The Public Access Room (PAR)’s website features a new video of its popular workshop, “We the Powerful.” Presented in segments, you’ll be able to get a quick primer on the role of the legislature, how a bill becomes a law or how to add your voice to the mix.

Check It out on the “workshops” page at hawaii.gov/lrb/par

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