Idaho Statesman reporter Dan Popkey reports today that just two months after legislative leaders affirmed their decision to remain among 17 states that don’t archive video of floor proceedings and make the footage available to the public, they’re now rethinking that decision. Idaho Public Television, which streams the video live on the Internet, has proposed an archive for several years. Last week, IdahoReporter.com, the online news arm of the Idaho Freedom Foundation, began posting the floor sessions on the Web, prompting concern among some lawmakers that the only source of a video archive is a private group that could manipulate the video. “My personal feeling is we need an official archive, one that is accessible by everyone without being filtered through some outside organization,” said Senate President Pro-Tem Brent Hill, R-Rexburg, who, along with other GOP legislative leaders, met with IFF Executive Director Wayne Hoffman late Wednesday.
Another move by IFF’s three Statehouse reporters also has caused a stir, Popkey reports. Hoffman, a former Idaho Statesman reporter, has his staff wearing brown name tags of the same style used by credentialed reporters. The name tags are worn by 70 reporters with floor access and other privileges conferred by the Capitol Correspondents Association. But Hoffman’s staff was denied credentials by the association under the Legislature’s joint rules, because IFF’s advocacy and lobbying are disqualifying under Correspondents Association bylaws. Hoffman told Popkey, “They’re reporters. They wear brown tags.” But House Speaker Scott Bedke, R-Oakley, said, “Everybody on the playground knows that’s not right. I expected better of the Idaho Freedom Foundation.”