Computer program reads for House

JACKSON — The state Constitution gives each member of the Legislature the right to have a bill read before final passage.

Members usually have bills read as a way to slow the process or as a sign of protest. Members of the House staff normally undertake the task of reading the lengthy bills.

But this week, when some Democrats started having bills read to protest what they believed were unfair treatment by the Republican leadership, it was not staff reading the legislation.

It was a computer program, which the House purchased for less than $30. Last year the then-Democratic leadership tried to use the program, but there was significant protest.

This year there was no protest.

The program can be set for various voices and speeds. The bills were being read at 90 seconds per page in a female voice.