IN THE SENATE: A file shot of Senate action. Next year, it might be watchable on the web.

Good news today from Michael Wickline in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette: The Arkansas Senate has begun the process to live stream both Senate sessions and committee meetings beginning in January.

Until now, the Senate has provided only audio of regular Senate sessions. It will follow the House’s lead on greater public access nine years after the fact.

This also may mean the end of a ban on live streaming of meetings of joint committees in the interim between sessions. They’ve been banned because senators have refused to allow broadcasts. A lot of important work gets done at these meetings.

It’s not done until it’s done, but let’s welcome the sunshine  proposal and credit Sen. Jim Hendren for pushing the idea. Sen. Alan Clark was the only vocal opposition.

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“I think it changes the flavor of the Senate forever.”

Yes, it makes it slightly more palatable. Exposure of Senate committee shenanigans, particularly, can only be a good thing.

The proposal to establish a committee devoted to guns (and alcohol and tobacco) gives me pause. A platform for Trent Garner demagoguery. It will also be a platform for Sen. Gary Stubblefield for continuing his war on the Alcoholic Beverage Control Division for enforcing the rules against gambling machines in places that sell alcohol. Illegal gambling is seeping around Arkansas because it is profitable, particularly when untaxed. Some prosecutors ignore it. The ABC has gotten tough on it, irking Stubblefield and Sen. Scott Flippo in Mountain Home, among others.