In 1997 before there were smart phones or Blackberries, U.S. Senator Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., requested he be allowed to use his laptop computer on the Senate floor. When he served in the Wyoming State Legislature, he was able to use his laptop, which allowed him to research and receive information quickly. He wants the U.S. Senate to be part of the 21st Century and to be able to do more of his work on the Senate floor. The Rules Committee has denied his requests, including his request in 2011 when he asked for “an interpretation of Senate Rule IV that would allow for the use of electronic devices on the Senate floor.”
Today, Enzi is trying again. He introduced a resolution expressing the sense of the Senate that certain uses of electronic devices by senators on the Senate floor “are necessary and proper in the conduct of official Senate business…”
“I started this effort in the last century and I’ll continue into the next if that’s what it takes to adapt this Senate rule to the times,” Enzi said. “The rules have allowed some staff to use laptops on the floor and it should also be updated to allow use of electronic devices for senators. We don’t want to change the decorum of the Senate. Our resolution guards against distractions, interruptions and inconveniences. We simply want senators to be able to utilize on the floor
, the same tools most of us use wherever we are to help us do things better.”
The Enzi resolution would allow senators to use digital assistant devices and tablet computers to deliver floor remarks, review and edit documents, communicate with text or emails, but not talk on the phone or use large devices such as laptops.
You can use your device to access an electronic copy of the resolution by clicking here.