Nevada Legislative broadcast system down for remodel this month
Legislative observers may have noticed there aren’t any interim legislative meetings set for this month.
That’s because the entire TV studio that handles those broadcasts, video conferences and Internet feeds is being completely remodeled and modernized this month.
Legislative Counsel Bureau Director Rick Combs said the system manages sound and pictures and the Internet feed as well as archiving those recordings for 11 meeting rooms in the Legislature, the Senate and Assembly floor sessions and video-conferencing to the five meeting rooms at the Sawyer Building in Las Vegas as well as Elko and UNR.
The work is being done now because it needs to be up, running and debugged by summer when interim committees are making final recommendations and preparations start for the 2017 legislative session.
Combs said the last meeting on the existing system was the legislative commission’s audit subcommittee Dec. 30. He said the plan is to have the new system up and running by the last week of this month.
The next video-conferenced meeting is scheduled for Jan. 27 — the interim study on whether to break up the Clark County School District.
Until then, legislative broadcast services aren’t available and, since those meetings must be available in both the north and southern Nevada, no meetings are scheduled.
He said non-legislative entities will be able to reserve space for meetings in February and beyond. Many state agencies use the legislative system for meetings.
The project is costing $973,110 but, according to Dan Dalluhn who runs Broadcast Services, the system is going to move from relatively low definition video and analog sound to high definition digital and much improved Internet access.
“We’re really a small version of C-Span,” he said when interviewed about the project in September.
Combs said the upgrade was necessary because of a couple of events. First, the “matrix” — the core of the system that integrates pictures, sound and the captions and other pieces of each broadcast — is outdated and is no longer supported or repairable as of this year. Second, the programmer who developed the system and has maintained it for 15 years is retiring.
Combs said that means it’s time to replace everything from committee room cameras and monitors to control room equipment.
When complete, Dalluhn said the new system will handle up to eight meetings at once.