Community Voice - Remote Testimony Worked Well This Session. Now Let's Make It Even Better
The 2021 Hawaii legislative session was momentous and not just for the issues addressed (or left unaddressed). It was conducted entirely remotely for the first time, given that the Capitol was closed to the public due to COVID-19.
For years, advocates have supported remote public testimony. This would seem reasonable and necessary, given our island state and with the Capitol located on Oahu. Hawaii and Maui county councils have had a hybrid system, allowing both in-person and remote testimony at satellite locations.
Given the logistical scramble to hold the entire 2021 legislative session remotely, the Legislature and its administrative team are to be applauded for the overall conduct of the remote 2021 session. It was a learning experience for all — from legislators to advocates — and mostly a positive one.
The authors are Sandy Ma, Common Cause Hawaii's Executive Director and Younghee Overly, Chair of AAUW's Hawaii Public Policy Committee.
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