LITTLE ROCK — The Arkansas state Senate won the 2019 Efficiency Award, one of the Digital Government Transformation Awards presented by the Information Network of Arkansas and state leaders who are working to make government more transparent.
The Senate was recognized for live streaming all committee meetings and all proceedings in the Senate chamber during the 92nd General Assembly. The decision to install cameras and live streaming equipment was made in late 2018.
The lack of time for preparation was one reason Senator Jim Hendren of Gravette, the President Pro Tem of the Senate, expected to hear complaints about glitches. Instead, the new system worked as well as anyone could have hoped.
At the awards banquet at the Doubletree Hotel on September 6, Hendren credited the Senate production manager, Rob Hatfield, for getting the new live streaming in operation so efficiently. The Senate hired Hatfield from Little Rock television station KTHV to run its live streaming.
The Senate began live streaming its sessions for the first time on January 14, 2019, the first day of the 2019 regular session. Hendren said that senators wanted to make Senate proceedings more easily accessible to the public.
"Our decision to set up live streaming was driven by people's desire for greater accountability," Hendren said. "With the technology available today, there is no reason for government meetings to be conducted out of sight of the general public."
By the end of the session, almost 2,000 people tuned in to watch the Senate proceedings.