Gadgets OK on House floor, within limits

Dec. 25, 2010 at 12:09 AM

WASHINGTON, Dec. 25 (UPI) -- Members of the U.S. House of Representatives will be able to use electronic devices on the House floor in the next session of Congress, a GOP spokesman said.

Under rules being developed by Republican leaders, members will be able to make limited use of cellphone, tablet computer and other technology -- which has been banned before now. The new rule would allow use of such items provided it does not "impair decorum," The New York Times said in a report on the change that had previously been reported by techPresident.com.

Republican spokesman Brendan Buck told the Times incoming House Speaker Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio, wants members to be able to derive the benefits of using the items on the House floor, but there will still be limits.

"This is not free license to Skype or pay bills online," Buck said. "But we recognize that people consume information electronically these days. It's just silly that the House wouldn't accommodate that."

Members have already been observed using mobile technology on both the House and Senate floors, the Times noted, citing a senior Republican aide who said leaders have taken a "wink and a nod" approach to members who sneak a peek at a BlackBerry once in a while.

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