Target: Speaker of the House of Representatives, Paul Ryan
Goal: Don’t penalize representatives who try to reach out to their constituents by live-streaming from the chamber floor.
House Speaker Paul Ryan is trying to prevent members of the House of Representatives from reaching out to the public, by levying fines against those who take pictures or live-stream while on the floor of the House chamber. He claims to be doing this in the name of decorum, but a measure like this would limit the public’s access to things like Democratic sit-ins.
During the sit-in which took place in June 2016, the C-SPAN live broadcast was cut off after the Republican that was overseeing the session called a recess. Democrats then started to live-stream the sit-in, so that the public could have access to the situation. The sit-in was in protest of Republican inaction on passing gun control legislation that is widely supported by the public. This important topic is something the public should be able to see the full scope of their representatives’ actions on.
If the ban on live-streaming is implemented, representatives would be fined $500 for their first offense and then $2,500 for each following offense. This would act as a deterrent to leaders who want to reach out to the public.
Tell Paul Ryan that having decorum is not as important as having a free and transparent government. Sign this petition to tell the House Speaker not to impose these live-streaming fines.
Dear House Speaker Ryan,
As the House Speaker it is important to see to it that the rules are followed so that the governing body may run smoothly. While decorum is important in the House of Representatives, it does not supersede the need for representatives to reach out to the public that they were elected by. It is for this reason that your plan to fine members of the House for live-streaming from the floor of the house is unacceptable.
During the June 2016 sit-in by the Democrats, the C-SPAN live broadcast was cut off after the Republican that was overseeing the session called a recess. Democrats then started to live-stream the sit-in, so that the public could have access to the situation. This was an important event for the public to witness. At this time live-streaming became a powerful tool for preserving a transparent democracy.
While the sit-in might not have been for a conservative cause, the right to protest is preserved in our Constitution. It was inspiring to see our representatives invoking that right to fight for the will of their constituents. Please work in the future to foster modern forms of communication in the House rather than stifling it.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Gobonobo