Public Accessibility to the Legislative Process

In a February 9th article, Civil Beat reporters Lynne Nakagawa and Sara Lin, a good question was raised;

On opening day of the Hawaii Legislature last month, a long power struggle meant that the House of Representatives still hadn't picked it's leader. But when it came time for a voice vote, the cameras that had been on all day were inexplicably turned off. The Hawaii public, unless they were in the room, couldn't witness the events on the floor, but staffers and legislators who were in the Capitol could see it on a closed-circuit TV network. The incident raised questions about why there's one standard of access for lawmakers and other standard for the public.

Why indeed? According to Civil Beat, in a brief interview with House Clerk

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Pat Mau-Shimazu, the Olelo feed was cut as a cost saving measure. The House pays for coverage from Olelo, according to the House Clerk, by the hour. It's one thing to suspend the feed while the House is in recess, or in Caucus, as a cost saving measure, it's another entirely to cut the feed during a critical House vote for the Speaker of the House. While it also important to note, as Civil Beat did, that Pat Mau-Shimazu didn't have the authority to make the decision; only the Speaker of the House, according to House Rules, can make that call. Though the battle for an elected Speaker was ongoing, upon the opening of the Legislature, Representative Mark Nakashima, per the Hawaii State Constitution, was the acting Speaker. So not only is the decision to shut off the public feed a poor one, but it seems the decision wasn't even the House Clerk's to make.