ANNAPOLIS, MD- People in Maryland could soon testify in state government hearings over a computer.
The Senate Rules Committee is considering allowing residents to give input on bills remotely, such as through a two-way cable connection, YouTube, or Skype.
"Senator Pipkin and the minority party are proposing some rule changes so that we can use the Internet and have people perhaps make testimony over the Internet. We should be able to do it. We can do it but are considering even also have people potentially sign up to be heard through the Internet," says Sen. David Brinkley, (R) - Frederick County.
This comes after more than 1,600 people turned out to testify on Governor Martin O'Malley's gun control package earlier this month. More than 1,000 of them got turned away.
"The technology is there," says Brinkley. "Our concern and our complaint at this point in time is you have some people who don't come down here that often, but when they really become engaged, they need to have their voices heard."
Brinkley, who serves on the committee, says the change could help people from Western Maryland have their opinions heard.
"You had some people who were allowed in the building, but there wasn't the time to allow them to testify, and that is incredibly frustrating not just for them, but certainly for those of us who represent people from Western Maryland, who took a day off from work, maybe hired a bus, but came down here nonetheless to have their voice heard, and then they were turned away," Brinkley says.
The committee will most likely meet after the session is finished in April to iron out details on this idea.