Columbus -- I carry a small video camera with me to most of the press conferences, committee hearings, floor sessions and other events I cover at the Statehouse.
It's not the greatest piece of technology, but it's adequate enough to record a couple of hours (if the battery holds out) of shaky video.
I post all of my footage online for anyone to watch, free of charge. The clips are generally unedited except to break them down into shorter segments for easier viewing. The videos end up on newspapers websites, my blog, YouTube and other places, depending on the content.
There aren't too many people down here providing comparable video coverage. I write that not to brag but to point out how sad it is that our state government isn't making more of an effort to record its dealings so that members of the public, many of whom are working during the day and can't afford to take time off to visit Capitol Square, can keep tabs on what's going on.
There's no excuse for it.
Floor sessions of the Ohio House and Senate are broadcast live and available for viewing later, via the Ohio Channel (www.ohiochannel.org).
The Ohio House also broadcast its finance committee hearings during the biennial budget debate earlier this year, a welcome addition to the public record.
But the Ohio Senate balked at similar broadcasts of its budget hearings, offering some lame explanation about "political grandstanding and protest."
There's no good reason why all budget hearings weren't recorded, and there's no good reason why all other Ohio House and Senate committee hearings are kept off the air, either.
In the technological, streaming age in which we live, it should be a no-brainer for lawmakers to provide that service to taxpayers.
It's a shame that state Rep. Dan Ramos, a Democrat from Lorain, recently had to attempt to force the issue, via legislation introduced that would require broadcasting of all Ohio House legislative hearings.
The bill would require all 23 standing committees and subcommittees to be aired for all the world to see.
"Ensuring transparency in and accessibility to government is one of the primary responsibilities we have as elected officials to the taxpayers across this state," Ramos said in a released statement. "Unfortunately, not everyone is able to travel to Columbus the day of a legislative hearing to witness the testimony that takes place in our Statehouse, but Ohioans still deserve access to their state government."
Ramos points out that the state already has the equipment needed to accomplish the task -- "it has remained mostly unused and in state storage," his release on the issue notes -- so there wouldn't be too much added cost for the setup and use.
Though sponsored by a minority party member, House Bill 262 has at least one Republican co-sponsor -- Rep. Mike Dovilla (R-Berea).
There should be more.
Whether codified or implemented via a rules change through the House's GOP leadership, lawmakers should move now to broadcast all committee hearings.
There's no good reason to delay.
Marc Kovac is the Dix Capital Bureau Chief. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at OhioCapitalBlog.