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Senate Rejects Laptops

The Missouri Senate voted against allowing lawmakers to use laptops on the senate floor. KSMU's Missy Shelton reports on the debate that pits senate tradition against the latest technology.

Those who favor bringing laptops into the senate chamber say it would enable them to respond more quickly to issues raised during debate and to constituent emails.

Senator Matt Bartle says it would make government more open and would help senators stay in touch with their districts.

But some like Senator Chris Koster say the floor of the senate is not the appropriate place for electronic communication.

But some senators say it's unreasonable to expect the senate to continue to use paper instead of electronic means of communicating.

Senator David Klindt says there's no comparison between paper and computers.

Klindt says he's tried to run his office with as little paper as possible.

He says the entire senate should operate that way.

Klindt and others say senators could spend their time on the floor more efficiently if they had internet access.

But Senator Gary Nodler says the senate isn't supposed to work efficiently.

And other senators say they fear that internet access in the senate chamber would be a distraction.

Senator Pat Dougherty says laptops would limit debate, not expand it.

But supporters of allowing laptops in the senate say technology will enhance debate.

Senator Matt Bartle says laptops won't have a negative impact on denate.

Though senators voted against allowing senators to have laptops in the chamber, they stopped short of banning all electronic devices.