Years after infiltrating every aspect of American life, technology is finally coming to the House of Representatives. Under the new House rules proposed by Speaker John Boehner, smartphones, iPads, and other electronic devices will be allowed in the chamber for the first time, provided that they don’t “impair decorum.”
“The definition of what is ‘disruptive of decorum’ will likely evolve over time,” writes Brendan Buck in an email, “but of course devices are not to make sound and members are not to be speaking on their phones while on the floor.” However, writes Buck, “if a member wants to read an amendment, for example, on their iPad, that would be allowed.”
Right, because that’s definitely what they’re going to use them for. While we’re sure there are plenty of ways an iPad can make a congressman’s job more efficient, and that they will occasionally be used in such ways, we’ve already seen how legislators put their technology to use. They stave off boredom with sports news, solitaire, topless photos, and videos of dogs shaking themselves dry.