House Republicans are set to break some longstanding traditions and soon permit the use of iPads, iPhones and BlackBerry devices on the House floor, as long as it doesn’t “impair decorum.”
John A. Boehmer, the Republican Member for Ohio, is to relax measures impacting the use of electronic devices, keeping the ban in place for matters that weren’t House-related like phone calls or internet shopping, their use being both greener, able to help inform Members of different pieces of legislation and also allow them to receive communications.
Brendan Buck, spokesman for the Republicans notes:
“Mr. Boehner has deep respect for the institution and its traditions.
This is not free license to Skype or pay bills online. But we recognize that people consume information electronically these days. It’s just silly that the House wouldn’t accommodate that.”
It seems lawmakers are beginning to see the uses behind the use of technology with their institutions, only last week the Chief Lord Justice removed the ban on using Twitter in courtrooms in England and Wales, allowing journalists to report on trials as they happen.
The move has come in for some criticism whilst being lauded for bringing the House into the modern age. As long as House Members use technology to remain updated on matters, using it to research and not using it to distract themselves from proceedings, it help influence more informed decisions.