September 17, 2009

Senate And Assembly Leaders Name
Joint Advisory Board To Advance Expansion Of
Statewide Legislative TV Channel

Senator Serrano, Assemblyman Canestrari Lead Bipartisan Effort
To Expand and Enhance Existing TV Coverage,
Bring C-SPAN-Like Programming to State Government

Senate President Pro Tempore Malcolm A. Smith, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, Senate Minority Leader Dean G. Skelos and Assembly Minority Leader Brian M. Kolb today announced their respective appointments to the Joint Advisory Board on the Broadcast of State Government Proceedings.

The Joint Advisory Board will review how the Legislature can enhance the current Legislative TV Channel and provide more effective and informative programming about state government, based on the C-SPAN model.

Senator Josť Serrano and Assembly Majority Leader Ron Canestrari have been appointed co-chairs of the eight-member Joint Advisory Board. They will serve with Senators Andrea Stewart-Cousins, David J. Valesky and John Bonacic, and Assembly members Darryl Towns, Margaret M. Markey and Jane L. Corwin.

The Senate and Assembly launched the Legislative Television Channel in 2006, bringing live, unedited, gavel-to-gavel coverage of legislative activity and floor debate to cable television viewers throughout the state.

Earlier this year, the Senate and Assembly established the advisory board by concurrent resolution (B.2775/C.787), to improve upon efforts to increase public access to the legislative process. The Joint Advisory Board's members will review opportunities to provide additional coverage of the Legislature and to offer new programming featuring other branches of state government.

Senate President Pro Tempore Smith said: "Knowledge is power. By opening up state government through the expanded broadcast of legislative activities, we will empower New Yorkers to learn more about their government and how it serves them."

Assembly Speaker Silver said: "For more than 20 years, the Assembly Majority has led the way toward the creation of a state TV channel dedicated to programming about state government. I am pleased to join my legislative colleagues in both houses to take this effort to the next level and increase government transparency and accountability."

Senate Minority Leader Skelos said: "Senate Republicans have long been at the forefront of efforts to increase transparency and make Albany more accountable to taxpayers, and were the driving force behind creation of the statewide legislative channel and web casting of the chamber's floor proceedings. We are pleased that as a result of the historic reforms that were achieved this year we can create an even more comprehensive resource for all New Yorkers. Senator Bonacic and the other members of this advisory panel will examine all of the relevant issues so that this new legislative television network will be nonpartisan and fair, and give New Yorkers an honest and unfiltered look at their State government."

Assembly Minority Leader Kolb said: "Expanding televised access of legislative proceedings and including other branches of state government will increase transparency and make officials more accountable to the people they serve. I am pleased to announce my appointment of Assemblywoman Jane Corwin to serve as our Conference's representative on the board that will oversee this important, bi-partisan effort. Assemblywoman Corwin's tremendous private sector experience, coupled with her proven commitment to public service, will be critical to the success of this endeavor intended to provide New Yorkers with a stronger voice in their government."

Senator Serrano said: "During hearings of the Temporary Committee on Rules, advocates and citizens were very vocal about wanting a public affairs network. This is the next natural step to engage and serve a society that is becoming more and more technologically inclined. In fact, meetings of the Committee on Cultural Affairs, Tourism and Parks and Recreation, which I chair, were posted to YouTube and hearings and meetings of the Temporary Committee on Rules were webcast; the video is archived to my site. I am proud to serve as Co-Chair of the Joint Advisory Board and to explore innovative ways to expand the transparency of our state government."

Assemblyman Canestrari said: "Assembly members Towns and Markey and I look forward to working with our colleagues in both houses in a bipartisan manner to expand the current Legislative TV Channel's programming. Not only do we want this channel to link New Yorkers to improved coverage of the Legislature's proceedings, but we also want the channel to have a programming schedule that features the rest of state government too."

Senator John Bonacic said: "New Yorkers pay far too much for their government to have to travel to Albany to see the lawmaking process. Developing a C-SPAN like channel for New York, will let voters see, unfiltered by press releases and the media, the development and amendment of our laws. Professionally managed and apolitical, this channel will encourage accountability of New York's elected officials."

The advisory board is expected to address the technical, logistical and organizational challenges of expanding the channel's coverage of state government and using it as a broadcast outlet for public policy and educational programming. In addition, it also will make recommendations about broadcasting and webcasting the Legislature's committee meetings.