When the state’s economic development agency briefed lawmakers last week about the details of a multibillion-dollar economic development package, the public had few ways to listen in on how their tax dollars would be spent.
The Mississippi House of Representatives does not livestream or record its committee meetings, which can leave the public in the dark about a crucial step in Mississippi’s lawmaking process. Meanwhile, the Mississippi Senate does livestream both its committee meetings and full chamber proceedings.
House Speaker Jason White, a Republican from West, told Mississippi Today that he has no objection to livestreaming committee meetings, but he wants to consult with his leadership team before adopting a permanent policy on recording them.
“My commitment to you is I know our new Rules Committee chairman and our Rules Committee will look at that,” White said. “I don’t think anybody here is, like, staunchly against it.”
The bulk of the Capitol’s work happens in committee meetings because committee leaders have control over which bills are voted on and which bills die over the course of the legislative session. Committee meetings are also where lawmakers hear directly from agency leaders and conduct hearings.
House Rules Committee Chairman Fred Shanks, a Republican from Brandon, also said he does not oppose livestreaming the committee meetings, but he believes the House needs to think through logistical plans on how the recordings would work.
“The Senate does it,” Shanks said. “I really don’t know the temperature of what all the other members think about it, but I would be open to hearing about it.”
The House does livestream its proceedings in the House chamber, but not its 49 committees.here.