NYS Seal


John McArdle
Senate Press Secretary

Charles R. Carrier
Assembly Press Secretary

January 3, 2006


Senate, Assembly Legislative Sessions To Be
Televised Statewide Beginning In January

Gavel-To-Gavel TV Coverage Of Floor Action And Other Legislative Proceedings
To Be Available On Dedicated 24 Hour Channel Seven Days A Week

Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver today announced that beginning in January with the 2006 legislative session, the televised proceedings of the Senate and Assembly will be expanded to a statewide cable television channel. Cable television viewers will be able to watch the deliberations of each house on a dedicated channel, culminating a multi-year effort to bring each house's deliberations to television viewers across the state.

"When I became Majority Leader I made a commitment to greater openness and transparency in government. The Senate took the first step with the start of webcasting of Senate sessions, followed by live broadcasting of sessions in the 17-county Capital Region. Expanding those broadcasts throughout the State will go a long way to achieve our goal of more openness and increasing New Yorkers access to the Legislature by enabling them to see full Legislative sessions on television. I thank Speaker Silver, Senator Jim Wright, Senator Owen Johnson, who co-chaired the original legislative task force on televising session, Assemblyman Canestrari and the Cable Association for their cooperation to make this project happen," said Senate Majority Leader Joseph L. Bruno.

"Now not only will New Yorkers have a greater opportunity to sit in on the debates and votes from each house's respective Capitol chambers, but they also will be able to watch broadcasts of the Senate and the Assembly's public budget hearings and joint conference committees. By expanding the availability of our televised sessions to viewers beyond the Capital District and by adding the broadcast of our other proceedings, we are moving closer to establishing television coverage of our government through a C-SPAN-like channel," said Silver. "I commend Senator Bruno and the Cable Telecommunications Association of New York for working with the Assembly to make our shared goal of bringing the Legislature's deliberations to a statewide TV audience a reality."

"This is an effort to continue opening up state government to the people who truly own it," Senator Wright said. "I am pleased with this initiative to expand public access to and transparency in state government. Now, people around the state, be they in Watertown, Buffalo, Rochester or Oswego, will be able to continuously monitor their state representatives with the click of a remote control."

Bruno and Silver noted that the statewide broadcast of the Legislature's sessions fulfills a commitment announced in June to bring both house's televised deliberations to virtually every cable system and major media market in the state.

Bruno and Silver also credited Assemblyman Ron Canestrari, chair of the Assembly Working Group on Television; former Assembly Minority Leader Charles Nesbitt, Assembly Minority Leader James Tedisco, and Senate Minority Leader David Paterson for the bipartisan cooperation they provided in launching this statewide broadcast capability.

"Ever since Sheldon Silver became speaker, he has advocated for C-Span like television coverage of state government, and with this announcement, we move from a statewide webcast audience to also include cable TV audiences, putting us on our way towards achieving this objective. The more New Yorkers know about their government the better off our state will be. A cable television channel committed to carrying the Legislature's sessions and joint public meetings is another way to bring about transparency in state government and to bring the legislative process closer to the people," said Canestrari.

"For years, the Senate Minority Conference and I have advocated for broad reforms intended to enhance accountability and transparency in government. Broadcasting our proceedings to as wide an audience as possible is an important step toward a more accountable and democratic legislature, and I welcome this change," said Senator David Paterson.

"We are starting off 2006 with a tremendous new development. Televising the proceedings of the Legislature is a resounding victory for the 19 million New Yorkers who deserve to know exactly what their elected officials are doing when they are in Albany. This is also a significant achievement for the members of my Conference who have been calling for this step for a number of years," said Assembly Republican Leader James N. Tedisco.

While sessions have been webcast on each house's respective websites, for the last several years, only viewers in the Albany area were able to receive televised broadcasts of the Legislature's deliberations. By using a dedicated channel, Bruno and Silver said, the Legislature's programming will air on cable systems throughout the state, seven days a week, 24 hours a day. The channel also will include coverage of the Legislature's joint budget hearings and conference committee meetings and leaders meetings.

"Today, CTANY is delighted to announce the launch of the NY State Legislative Proceedings channel to be cablecast throughout New York State," said CTANY President Richard F. Alteri. "As a result of the billions of dollars invested by New York's cable companies to build state-of-the-art digital networks, New Yorkers now have the ability to peer directly into the inner workings of their representative government via their remote control. I would like to thank Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, Senator Jim Wright, Assemblyman Ron Canestrari and other legislative leaders for working together with CTANY and New York's cable companies to make this important public service possible."

With the statewide dissemination of the Legislature's televised proceedings accomplished, both Bruno and Silver announced that Senator Wright and Assemblyman Ron Canestrari would continue their bipartisan efforts and oversee the channel's operation as well as recommend future opportunities for the broadcast of additional information related to state government.

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Editors note: Click here to view the specific channel information for the respective cable television systems committed to airing the New York State Legislative Proceedings Channel.