--2 Sapien poisons Webcast rule.
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Sapien poisons Webcast rule.

March 7, 2009, 12:00 am
By SFR Staff

After waiting all day for a vote on Web casting, sunshine proponents witnessed freshman Sen. John Sapien, D-Sandoval, add two "poison pill" amendments to the proposed rule.

The vote on the amended bill was postponed.

One amendment creates a new oversight body to rule over web cams. The other limits the Web cast to a single static camera in the back, despite the fact that the Senate already has the technology for a sophisticated multi-shot stream.

The actual language:

"The live video stream shall be from a single camera installed at the rear of the chamber, positioned and focused so as to capture an image of the chamber that as nearly as possible replicates the view of a member of the public seated in the gallery in such a way that no material on members' desks, computer monitors or similar devices can be read or viewed."

Senate President Pro-Tem Tim Jennings voted for both amendments (or at least didn't vote against 'em), despite the fact that he argued minutes earlier that the camera should be on the front wall.

With the amendments, the rule requires a 2/3 majority vote...which it can't possibly get. Another amendment to rephrase the limitations on political use of footage was defeated.

"This is all amending something that's hopeless," Sen. Gerald Ortiz y Pino, D-Bernalillo, said on the floor after Sapien's second amendment passed and Sapien introduced a third.

Sapien claimed to take offense at accusations that he was deliberately sabotaging his bill.

"This is not strategic," Sapien said on the floor. "It's naive to believe that [when we] create a new system that it is not going to need to be tweaked."

Web cam proponents voted for a "Call to the Senate," which means that everyone has to be on the floor to vote on the rule. The Sgt at Arms was ordered to round up everyone and for a moment legislative staff were preparing for an all-nighter.

When it became clear that rounding up everyone was impossible--Sen. Howie Morales, D-Catron, was in Silver City--the call was withdrawn. The vote will come as early as Monday.

Last night's live blog archive after the jump.


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