WVLEG: State Senate Goes High Tech with iPads (with video)

By westvirginia on August 1, 2011
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By Steven Allen Adams
steven@westvirginiawatchdog.org

The West Virginia State Senate is replacing their floor books with iPad 2 touchscreen tablets with the hopes that the new technology will help streamline how the Senate operates, allow Senators to track bills and amendments in real-time, and save taxpayer dollars on printing.

The initiative, started by Senate Majority Leader John Unger (D-Berkeley) and tested out by Unger and state Sen. Karen Facemeyer (R-Jackson) was officially rolled out Monday. State Senators were trained Monday morning on use of the iPads and how to use the application software, designed by Legislative Services, that will allow senators to track bills and amendments, and read committee reports.

According to Acting Senate President Jeff Kessler (D-Marshall), the State Senate is the first legislative body in the nation to use the new iPad 2. The Senate purchased 40 iPads, costing $39,249. While no specific numbers were given, Senate officials say that the House of Delegates have saved over $100,000 since giving all members laptop computers.

“In order to have a productive body, we must learn to accept and work with technology to enhance our ability to connect with each other and more importantly, our constituents,” said Kessler in a prepared statement. “This move to digital formatting will not only create efficiency within the body, but also help reduce tax-payers’ expense on growing paper costs. I am optimistic that the introduction of this new technology will positively impact the way we do business in the Senate.”

The press and citizens will also have access to a public version of the legislative app so they can follow legislation.

Watch the video report below:

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Posted under Audio, Legislation, Legislature, News, Politics, State Senate, Transparency, Video, West Virginia.
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