“A person may not smoke or use a wireless telephone….”

In den USA gibt es übrigens keinen Ältestenrat. Die Mehrheitspartei, vertreten durch den Speaker, bestimmt die Tagesordnung (und bekommt alle Ausschussvorsitze).

Es gibt in der Geschäftsordnung des Abgeordnetenhauses auch eine Regelung zu elektronischen Geräten (“Laptopverbot”), die im Kommentar zur Geschäftsordnung wie folgt beschrieben wird:

For historical purposes, it is important to note that the use of electronic devices in the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives is governed by the rules of the House. In the 111th Congress, the fourth sentence of clause 5 of rule XVII read as follows: “A person may not smoke or use a wireless telephone or personal computer on the floor of the House.”

The House first adopted a rule prohibiting the use of “personal, electronic office equipment (including cellular phones and computers)” on the floor in 1995. The rule was specifically changed in 2003 to prohibit the use of “a wireless telephone or personal computer,” thereby tacitly permitting a smartphone (e.g., a BlackBerry) to be used on the floor.

No formal ruling has been made by the Speaker on whether an electronic- tablet device (e.g., an iPad) might constitute a “personal computer” within the meaning of the version of the rule in 111th Congress. Members of the House have used them on the floor, both informally and even while under recognition, without reprimand. The Parliamentarian has informally advised that they may be used unobtrusively pending review of the broader questions their proliferation might engender. Wi-Fi service has not been enabled in the chamber of the House. However, like many smartphones, some electronic-tablet devices have wireless-data capability that enables internet access in the chamber.

As the popularity of electronic-tablet devices increases, the House has observed how Members use them and their effect on decorum and has evaluated whether the use of electronic-tablet devices poses either audible or visual impairments to decorum in the chamber. Unlike bulkier notebook and laptop computers, electronic-tablet devices can be used without obscuring the Member behind a screen or creating the visual of a sea of screens across the chamber. In addition, these devices are implemented with silent keyboards that limit audible disruptions.

The House has reconsidered the way it regulates the use of such devices. Rather than continuing to address devices by category (e.g., “phones” or “computers”), the current rule will instead will address them by their attributes (e.g., form-factor or character). The rule speaks generally of devices that are disruptive of the decorum of the House and leaves it to the Speaker to enunciate policies to react to changes in technology. (This approach already has been employed to extend the prohibition on the use of wireless telephones also to the wearing of wireless headsets while in the chamber.)

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1 Comment »

  1. […] Dies bezeichnet also ein Verbot von Laptops, während Handys und Tablets zugelassen sind. Hier spielt zum einen die Akustik eine Rolle, aber auch das Erscheinungsbild des Hauses. Selbst im Abgeordnetenhaus der USA sind Laptops genau aus dem Grund (“decorum”) auch nicht erlaubt. […]

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