As the Delaware General Assembly prepares to reconvene Tuesday for the start of its 152nd session, livestreaming of meetings seems set to stay.
Nobody seems sure yet whether members of the House or Senate will be able to continue to vote remotely.
After fighting the livestreaming of meetings for years, the General Assembly started doing that when the COVID-19 pandemic shut down Legislative Hall, but government meetings needed to continue.
With Leg Hall reopened to the public, House Minority Leader Mike Ramone, R-Pike Creek, said he believes the General Assembly should do everything it can to enable the public to participate.
Ramone says this includes livestreaming to allow increased participation in regular sessions and committee meetings.
Drew Volturo, House Democratic Caucus spokesman, says Delaware will “absolutely continue to livestream” both sessions and committee hearings.
“That is a permanent feature and doesn’t require any rules per se,” Volturo said.
Each legislative session starts with rules for the session being voted on by the House and Senate.
Ramone said the rules, expected to happen Tuesday, should include authorization for livestreaming.
Matt Revel, Senate Republican Caucus spokesman, said the rules resolution is usually the second resolution passed at the start of each session.
Both Revel and Volturo were unsure if remote voting would continue.
Revel said committee meetings will be in a hybrid format, allowing for in-person and online testimony. He believes that will mean remote voting will continue.
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The majority caucus – and it’s Democrats in both houses – introduce the rules resolution.
Revel said Friday that as far as he knows, a draft has not yet been circulated.
Pennsylvania’s Republican-dominated Senate last week passed a rule that said committee chairs could decide whether meetings would be televised or not.
But, it said, voting must be done in person, except for emergencies.
Like Delaware, Pennsylvania’s legislature session takes place over two years, meaning rules passed this year will cover the 2023 and 2024 meetings.
A Democratic version of the rule would have allowed both livestreaming and remote voting. It failed in committee.
While Revel said he is not sure how the rules may change this session, he agreed that livestreaming gives the public better access to Legislative Hall and it’s as easy as including it in session rules.
See the Senate opening session, including senators taking their oaths of office here.
Se the House opening session, including representatives taking their oaths of office here.
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