By Michelle Berger
Congressional Bills: Heading Down the Series of Tubes Near You?
On October 2, The Washington Post reported that the recent proposed health care legislation has re-sparked debate over openness and online information availability in Congress. A group of 180 members of Congress have signed a petition to require that all bills be placed online for at least 72 hours before voting. Advocates say this would allow greater government transparency and give legislators time to actually read the bills before voting. Opponents maintain that 72 hours online won’t make the bills more accessible to citizens or legislators due to the dense legalese, and they also point out that many bills are already posted online 48 hours in advance.
Don’t lol – Cyberbullying is No Joke in Congress
On September 30, the House Judiciary Committee heard testimony concerning two bills aimed at combating cyberbullying. One bill, the Megan Meier Cyber Bullying Prevention Act, would criminalize cyberbullying, while the other, the Adolescent Web Awareness Requires Education (“AWARE”) Act would provide funding to schools to teach children about cybercrime, including awareness about cyberbullying. Ars Technica explains that experts at the hearing expressed concerns that the language of the Megan Meier Act would create free speech concerns and be hard to police, though they generally agreed that the AWARE Act took steps in the right direction to combat cyberbullying conduct.
No Pictures Please: Cameras Prohibited in Seventh Circuit Courtrooms
The Wall Street Journal Blog details the order issued by Judge Easterbrook of the Seventh Circuit on September 28th, censuring an Illinois district court judge for allowing the filming of a trial in his courtroom. Easterbrook explained that the allowance violated policies established by both the Judicial Conference of the United States and the Judicial Conference of the Seventh Circuit, with little elaboration. The Illinois judge responded apologetically, explaining that he thought he could make an exception to the policies due to the public interest at issue in the case.