A capitol-based contract production crew will routinely cover two events simultaneously, and will include 2-4 committee hearings as well as House and Senate floor sessions each day. Proceedings in the House and Senate chambers, along with Room 303 (the old Supreme Court) will be covered using robotic cameras; other hearings will be captured using a mobile video production cart. In addition, activities in a first floor House Hearing Room and Senate Hearing Room 405 will be covered each day for the duration of the Session, to accommodate an experiment with video Minutes of committee meetings. The TVMT Project Manager, in consultation with the Legislative Council and House and Senate staff, will determine which committee hearings and which bills will be covered with the mobile unit.
The unedited televised proceedings will be distributed within the building and to Helena area cable subscribers through HCTV, a local community access station. An hour-long weekly summary program called Legislative Digest will be distributed through Montana PBS, which reaches 55 communities across the state. This program will feature segments of floor debates and hearings. Legislative leaders as well as other individual members of the House and Senate will be invited on occasion to reflect on the legislative process in an interview format.
With sufficient funding from private cash and in-kind contributions, the gavel-to-gavel service and related programming will also be transmitted to a number of schools in north-central and eastern Montana over the VisionNet system, and to community access TV stations in Billings, Missoula, and Great Falls as well as other stations across the state via satellite uplink and downlink to cable head ends. Audio coverage of floor sessions and many hearings will also be distributed to computer users over the Internet. Fundraising for this future distribution plan is ongoing. Please contact Stephen Maly at Legislative Services Division for further information on how to contribute to TVMT.