Nothing has changed since last weekend when LD 26 State Representative and expected mother Athena Salman requested, due to her condition, the health of her arriving newborn, and the Omicron COVID 19 surge, that Speaker Bowers allow her to attend house floor sessions, committee meetings, and vote calls remotely.
Neither Mr. Bowers or Senate President Karen Fann have officially reinstituted any of the health safety measures that were prevalent (and easy to utilize and maintain) during the last two years at the State Capitol.
They did find time to host Governor Ducey for his State of the State…Superspreader event.
Arizona Democrats, through their Senate and House leaders (Rebecca Rios and Reginald Bolding,) have sent a letter to President Fans and Speaker Bowers, imploring them to allow:
- remote attendance and voting for all legislators and staff, especially those with COVID 19 or other health conditions, like cancer, diabetes, and asthma, that may intensify if exposed to the Coronavirus.
- public participation through virtual means for the same health concerns and also convenience for those who would have to travel long distances otherwise.
The letter concludes with:
“While everyone is tired of the pandemic and wants to get back to the way things used to be, the reality is that we’re not there yet. Arizona – and indeed the whole country – is in the middle of a new surge of COVID-19 cases. We can’t let our guard down. None of us wanted to be in a situation where we must continue to wear masks and social distance, but that’s what we must do in order to stay healthy, and it’s the only way to be responsible for the most vulnerable among us, especially young children who can’t be vaccinated. Technology makes it much easier to get through this pandemic. We urge you to once again allow remote participation from home for both members and the public.”
It is time for the Republican leadership to stop looking for ways to stifle and silence the opposition (the ones that believe in the science of the pandemic) and start thinking about the health and safety of everyone.
This is 2022. The technology is there to allow for the smooth and safe functioning of the legislature and the public process through remote means.
Republicans should stop being malicious and stupid and allow remote attendance and voting.