Mississippi Center for Public Policy, the private, non-profit organization which created the transparency website SeeTheSpending.org, has posted videos of the 2010 and 2011 Regular Sessions of the Mississippi Legislature.

“We believe people should be able to see and hear what their legislators say as they represent their constituents in Jackson,” said Forest Thigpen, the organization’s president.

The legislature streams, or broadcasts, its proceedings over the internet, but they are not archived for later viewing. Thigpen thinks that should change.

“Streaming is good,” he said, “but most taxpayers are at work when the legislature is in session and cannot watch the live proceedings. Ideally, the Legislature will start archiving their sessions, but in the meantime, we have recorded them and are posting them on our own website.”

The videos are organized by the date they occurred and are broken into segments of fifteen-to-thirty minutes each in order to speed their download.

Viewers will need to know the day of any debate they wish to watch. Instructions are provided on the website to help users find the right video.

Thigpen said the Center has not had the time or staff that would be necessary to associate the videos with the bills that have been debated.

“We decided to make the videos available now, while people are considering candidates to serve in the legislature,” Thigpen said. “At some point, we hope to catalogue the videos to make it easier for users to find speeches by their own legislators or quickly find the debates on specific bills. But because our small staff has been focused on other projects, including SeeTheSpending.org, we haven’t had the time or money to create that type of index.”

Mississippi Center for Public Policy operates solely on voluntary, tax-deductible contributions. It does not seek or accept funding for its projects from any government source.

The legislative video project is the latest addition to MCPP’s Government Transparency Initiative, which includes its innovative website SeeTheSpending.org. SeeTheSpending allows taxpayers to see how their money is being spent by state and county governments in Mississippi.

The legislative videos are available through a link on the Center’s primary website, www.mspolicy.org.

# # #