Oregon Lawmakers Could Continue To Offer Remote Testimony, Even Post-Pandemic
Oregon lawmakers could decide to continue to allow remote testimony, even after the pandemic.
With the Oregon Capitol closed to the public as a way of slowing the spread of COVID-19, legislative committees are taking testimony over those same virtual platforms that most of us, like it or not, have gotten used to. That means no more driving several hours to speak in front of lawmakers for three minutes.
But fully remote hearings do have some shortcomings over in-person meetings, said Misty Mason Freeman, the director of the Legislative Policy and Research Office.
“We know that we’re missing non-verbal cues," she said. "We don’t get that same level of interpersonal connection. And we have fewer opportunities for informal meetings in the halls, or conversations that might be beneficial to the process.”
One possibility under consideration: Once the Capitol re-opens, committee chairs could alternate testimony between people in the room and people joining remotely.
Separately, lawmakers are considering a bill that would require that all public deliberative bodies in Oregon allow testimony to be delivered remotely. This could be over the phone or by a video link of some sort. The measure has passed the House and is now in the Senate.