(NASHVILLE, TN), February 9, 2011 – Tennessee Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey (R-Blountville) and House Speaker Beth Harwell (R-Nashville) today announced that televised proceedings of the Senate and House of Representatives will be broadcast statewide on Public Television’s “Tennessee Channel.” The gavel-to-gavel broadcast will feature comprehensive live and taped-delayed proceedings, including committee meetings, floor sessions, and other joint conventions for the first time in state history.
The project is funded under an agreement with the Tennessee General Assembly, with additional corporate support from AT&T. The General Assembly will be responsible for feeding the broadcast of the sessions to the Tennessee Channel. It will then run through the state’s six public television stations, which provides coverage to all Tennessee viewers.
“The availability of our legislative proceedings on public television builds on our efforts to make government more transparent by providing more information online,” said Lt. Governor Ramsey. “Freedom basks in sunshine. The cornerstone of this freedom is transparency in government, and as technologies have advanced, so has our ability to bring government directly into the homes of our citizens. I look forward to working with our public television stations in order to provide widespread coverage of our committee meetings and legislative sessions.”
The Tennessee General Assembly offers extensive information through their Internet website, winning the state the national “Online Democracy Award” for providing it in a user-friendly format. The legislature was also awarded the Digital Governance Award for Leadership in Digital Access for “strong government transparency and public access improvements.”
“I am looking forward to working with public television stations across this great state to bring our legislative proceedings into the living rooms of Tennesseans from Memphis to Mountain City,” said Speaker Beth Harwell. “We will make a continuous effort to ensure the legislative process is transparent and more accessible to the public, constantly improving the ways we reach our citizens. This is the very foundation of principles on which this country was founded.”
“AT&T is proud to help sponsor this year’s Tennessee General Assembly broadcasts over public television,” said Gregg Morton, President-AT&T Tennessee. “By bringing the workings of our state’s government to citizens’ homes, we are able to see firsthand the critically important work of the legislature that impacts the lives of all Tennesseans.”
“We are proud to have established this partnership with our state government,” said Michael LaBonia, who is also Chairman of Tennessee’s Public Television Stations. “Having an informed citizenry is an important part of our democratic process, and Tennessee Public Television is proud to be a part of informing the public.”
Tennessee Public Television Stations include: WCTE/Cookeville, WTCI/Chattanooga, East Tennessee PBS WKOP/Knoxville and WETP/Sneedville, WLJT/Martin, WKNO/Memphis and WNPT/Nashville.
Citizens can check with their local public television station for the weekly schedule of legislative coverage.