As a new Congress prepares to assume power in Washington, a longstanding restriction is about to be lifted in the hallowed chambers. For the first time, iDevices will be allowed for use on the floor of the US House of Representatives. If the new rule is adopted - and it's expected to be adopted at the start of the 112th Congress - members would, however, be required to silence their iPhones, BlackBerrys, iPads, iPods and other mobile phones, tablets, and portable electronics while "at work."
The rule that would be effectively "overturned" is the longstanding tradition of prohibiting into the chambers anything “that impairs decorum.” Of course, if that rule were actually enforced, none of the congressional members would be allowed in the building to begin with. So, instead, mobile devices and other signs of life in the 21st century have been banished - that is, until now.
According to the New York Times, there are reasons to believe that such a development could lead to positive results:
There are two ways of looking at the development. On the one hand, the change could allow lawmakers the kind of instant access to information that would help their decision-making. Their advisers could send them important messages even as they speak. And, especially with the iPad’s bigger screen, lawmakers could abandon the paper copies of bills in favor of electronic versions.
New York Times