University of Hawai‘i Board of Regents meetings may soon be livestreamed, according to a bill in the Hawai‘i State Legislature.
Senate Bill 2573 requires the BOR to livestream, record and archive all public meetings in a digital video format to be made available to the public.
“We were surprised that the Regents had started looking into this three months ago and hadn’t really come up with anything,” Senator Donna Mercado Kim, chair of the Senate Committee on Higher Education, said at a hearing on Feb. 4. “So after our meeting they really got down to business and reported back to us.”
The measure was first introduced to the Senate on Jan. 17. The committees on higher education and technology voted to pass the bill with amendments, allowing the BOR one month after the proposed due dates to abide by the bill. Originally, the Board had proposed that they could complete live streaming by April and format meetings for video by August.
Currently, only minutes and agendas of meetings are publicly available on the BOR website. However, if the bill goes into effect, they will be required to livestream the public meetings by May 1, and format Board meetings for video by September.
Although live streaming is a possibility, Kendra Oishi, executive administrator and secretary of the BOR said in a written testimony that it is difficult because each campus has different technology and room setups.
“Campuses must configure the rooms and audio systems for meetings, and each campus has varying levels of technical and human resource capacity,” she said. “Broadcasting meetings in live video format would require more financial and human resources than audio. Long-term archiving of digital files would also result in additional costs.”
The Office of the Board of Regents has been working to find solutions that adhere to the Americans with Disabilities Act. This includes closed captioning and/or transcription for audio or live video broadcasts and for archived files.
The senators discussed how it is still necessary to determine when exactly the archives will be made available.