Senator’s farewell speech advocates for iPads on the Senate floor

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Senator Michael B Enzi says iPads and other electronic devices should be allowed on the Senate floor.
Ironically, Senator Enzi had to read his farewell speech from a piece of paper, not an iPad.
Screenshot: Senator Enzi

U.S. senators are banned from using electronic devices on the senate floor, but retiring Senator Michael B. Enzi wants to change that. Despite being 76 years old, he used part of his farewell speech to urge his fellow lawmakers to end the restriction on laptops, phones and tablets.

Of course, the senator had to read his speech from a piece of paper, not the iPad he would have preferred.

After speaking about his 24 years in the Senate, Enzi said, “For my last piece of advice I would call on my colleagues to recognize that it’s time to formally allow electronics on the floor of the United States Senate. It’s an issue near and dear to my heart, and one I think will help to work in the Senate.”

Like so many people, he’s ready for a tablet to replace paper. “It’s time to make this common sense change, allowing iPads to be used for speeches as long as they’re laid on the lectern like a paper speech,” urged the Senator.

Beyond that, he wants widespread use of computers on the chamber floor. “If senators could do some work from their desks, like early senators had to do, we would listen to more of the speeches and get something done.”

No laptop for you, senator

But as Enzi himself admits in his speech, he’s has been trying to get this rule changed since 1997 and has had no success. When he made his first appeal 23 years ago, he was rejected by the Senate Rules and Administration Committee. “There’s a mystique about the Senate floor that does not lend itself to bringing in a laptop,” said Senator John W. Warner, a Virginia Republican who lead the committee at the time, according to The New York Times.

And the U.S. House of Representatives has a similar prohibition.

Watch Senator Enzi advocate for the use of phones, tablets and laptops on the Senate floor in his farewell speech.