Letter: Remote access keeps NH strong – Concord Monitor

Letter: Remote access keeps NH strong – Concord Monitor

Published: 12/4/2021 7:00:45 AM

Modified: 12/4/2021 7:00:16 AM

New Hampshire has always valued public participation. However, early on in 2020, when I spent about 3-5 days a week testifying on bills in committee meetings at the state house, I was often one of very few people present. Most people don’t have the time or ability to travel to Concord regularly or spend hours waiting through committee meetings. In 2021 this changed, and for the first time, many Granite Staters were able to participate in our democracy by testifying on bills remotely. It was incredibly uplifting to hear the stories of people who had never testified before: working parents, essential workers in the healthcare industry and many others.

The option to attend and testify remotely has helped to expand the pool of perspectives and experiences represented at committee hearings while ensuring the public is healthy and safe as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to devastate New Hampshire. Some argue that the increased participation bogged down hearings and made it more difficult for committees to get to each bill. However, in the vast majority of hearings I was present for, meetings were able to continue as scheduled with only minor delays. Any legislator who believes in due process and democracy would support remote access. In addition to making democracy more accessible, remote access also enhances government transparency, both vital parts of this state’s values. In order to make our legislature the best that it can be, remote access should continue to be made available.

Sophia Biondolillo


Source: https://www.concordmonitor.com/-43825410