As was necessary due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Rhode Island House of Representatives introduced rules which would allow for and regulate remote participation of both the public and legislators during the 2021 session and beyond. Though we supported the goals of increased public transparency during this public health crisis, we urged the committee to adopt technology that would allow for video testimony from the public and urged amendment to a provision that allowed the House Speaker to unilaterally determine in the future if there was an “emergency” which would necessitate remote meetings. We further noted that new language that allowed a public meeting to continue even in the event of a “technological failure” that shuts the public out of a meeting was deeply concerning and problematic.

In addition to commentary on new language, we offered several amendments to language that had been changed during previous sessions and iterations of the House rules.

Sponsors

Representative Arthur Corvese

Status

Held for Further Study

Session

2021

Bill number