Some significant upgrades have been made at the Rhode Island Statehouse for the legislative session that began last week. They’re nothing the average visitor would notice, but they may make the job of following the General Assembly easier.
One of the changes is the addition of a third large hearing room. It’s on the first floor of the Statehouse, just across from the state treasurer’s office. Larry Berman, a spokesman for House Speaker Gordon Fox, said more hearing space has been needed for a very long time.
"The public was squeezed into some of our small hearing rooms and it was embarrassing to the public. If you had a hearing where you would have ten or more people come – 20 people, 30 people – they’d have to hang out in the hallways, almost take numbers like you’re at the registry," said Berman.
The state has also replaced all of its Capitol TV cameras, which were 30 years old, and has replaced the voting boards in both legislative chambers. The total cost of the improvements was roughly 2.7 million dollars. Lawmakers approved the expenditure with the aim of making their business more transparent.
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