Rule Would Permit Mobile Devices on House Floor

Lora Bentley

In March of this year, the Speaker of the California Assembly, John A. Perez, made news when he announced a plan to ban texting between assemblymen and lobbyists while the former were in committee or on the assembly floor. He said:

Californians expect us to pay full attention to the issues and to each other. They need not worry that special interest lobbyists are secretly sending messages of support or opposition to us while we deliberate.

Though he didn't go into detail about enforcement at the time, he threatened to ban smartphones and other mobile devices altogether if the simple texting ban didn't work. And apparently, the House of Representatives of the 111th Congress did just that: They banned smartphones and tablets on the House floor.


The same may not be true for members of the House in the 112th Congress, however. Republicans have proposed a rule that would allow such devices on the floor so long as they do not "impede decorum." According to the Republican Majority Transition Committee's Brendan Buck:

... devices are not to make sound and members are not to be speaking on their phones while on the floor.

All Things D blogger John Paczkowski explains:

In other words, playing a game of Doodle Jump or experimenting with Fart Studio for iPad during a speech by a colleague is forbidden; reading the electronic version of the bill he's stumping for is fair game ...

Beyond that, what impedes decorum and what does not will have to evolve.

Add Comment      Leave a comment on this blog post
Mar 28, 2011 9:12 AM flooring sydney flooring sydney  says:

to ban the mobile device on house floor might be a strick decision. It is really understandable that most of the people are undertanding and they wont make noise. thanks for the article.


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