Munich: the state parliament is offline again – Bavaria

This week, when Minister Hubert Aiwanger (FW) reports to the Economic Commission on the consequences of Ukraine’s war on Bavarian companies, or when the Interior Committee discusses lessons learned from the new Report for the Protection of the Constitution with Minister Joachim Herrmann (CSU) – then these exciting dates will become very limited to the public. Only interested, professionally affected citizens, parliamentary group employees or journalists who drive to the Maximilianeum and enter the meeting room. And in the state parliament’s agriculture and science committees, the petitions are being dealt with on Wednesday. If it is a local political issue, those affected will have to travel there, in extreme cases from Aschaffenburg or Bayrich Eisenstein. Oh, if you could just watch it on YouTube.

You can do this during a pandemic. After the Easter holidays, there are now new rules in the state parliament, for example the glass panels between the chairs have been removed in plenum, and the plenary meets again with the normal numbers of people. The live broadcast of the commissions, the actual working area of ​​Parliament, ended recently – which was hardly noticed due to the holidays. At the end of March, the Greens, the Social Democrats and the Freedom and Justice Party wanted to take last-minute countermeasures with a joint movement.

The idea, born out of necessity, has proven itself, it is said, to provide “more transparency” and make work easier for everyone in the political establishment. Above all, CSU resisted. Its parliamentary director, Tobias Reis, cautioned that one was “Parliament present” and one should “not think of the possibility of organizing democracy from the office of the House”. Stefan Oetzinger (CSU) also mentioned the cost-benefit balance. In the legal committee, for example, the average viewership is 19. So: the application is rejected, and the committees have been offline since.

But now things are moving again. On the other hand, there is an exact breakdown of the number of users, which the State Parliament Office shared with SZ upon request. On the other hand, talks were said to have taken place between the Christian Social Union and the Free Voters. All calls are listed in the overview – that is, not only virtual guests of the entire session, but also clicks on individual speeches, petitions or suggestions. In 2021 and 2022, there were almost no low double-digit numbers, as reported by CSU, on all committees; The numbers are often three digits long, and sometimes the views are in the thousands. The supposedly unattractive legal committee is actually one of the least interested. But the numbers, for example, are now in the three meetings in March: 198, 144 and 117.

There is a high demand for meetings with ministerial reports or potentially exciting topics

Meetings with ministerial reports, hearings, or potentially exciting topics are in great demand. Number one in the general balance: the Education Committee in January 2021, with 2,678 viewers. At the time, Education Minister Michael Piazzolo (FW) spoke about malfunctions in the distance learning platform Mebis. You can imagine how many teachers, students, and parents in the Free State have sparked their interest. Incidentally, this also provides political education: how does the state parliament work?

The opposition had strongly criticized the request to receive the broadcast. For example, Jürgen Mistol (The Greens) said: The rejection of governmental factions “may perhaps be explained only by indifference to social changes, with a great deal of inertia and backward worldview.” Since then, changing models have also been considered: such as the permanent influx of the press or state parliament employees – and for the general public, for example at ministerial appearances. At the time, FW voted with CSU, but seemed ready for dialogue. Its Parliamentary Director Fabian Mering announced that he was looking for a compromise – between the CSU and the FDP, who, “except for going to the toilet, would like to broadcast everything that happens in the state parliament”.

When asked by SZ, Mehring said he negotiated with CSU. “It seems good that we have reached a compromise that serves the cause.” The government factions would like to discuss this soon, then there should be details, Mering said. The actual number of views could have played a role as well.

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