Apparently, some Republicans in the Arizona State House have found a way to use COVID 19 to their advantage to shut out the voice of the people.
Unlike the more enlightened rule-makers in the Arizona State Senate, Republican House Leadership is allowing Committee Chairpersons the discretion whether or not to allow remote-virtual testimony on legislation from constituents.
The Arizona Senate allows virtual testimony in all its committees.
The Senate is also more rigid on mask-wearing requirements for legislators and staff than the House.
Do readers see a pattern here?
Most of the constituents who want to offer their views are worried about contracting the Coronavirus (where some Republican State Legislators are lax about wearing masks and following all COVID health and safety protocols) when committees meet to consider pending legislation. Some of them can not appear because they either have or been exposed to people with the Coronavirus.
According to reporting by both the Capitol Times and AZ Central, Legislative District (LD) 23 State Representative John Kavanagh is one of several Republican Committee Chairpersons who do not want to allow health worrying individuals the option of testifying virtually.
LD 20 State Representative Shawna Bolick, the chairperson of the House Ways and Means Committee seems to be another.
In commenting to AZ Central, Mr. Kavanagh, whose Government and Elections Committee will handle bills pertaining to election conduct and voting rights/access said that testimony would be received “same as we always did.”
The Capitol Times noted that Mr. Kavanagh said:
“We’ve made no changes in testimony other than limiting the number of people that can be in the room. Anyone can still come down, sign up, and testify in person.”
The LD 23 Representative further justified his rationale for conducting only in-person testimony to AZ Central by those who do not wish to attend the meetings in person can still offer their views via letters or emails. He also commented:
“Anybody can look at our meetings online. Anybody can watch archived recordings of our meetings going back years. I don’t think input is a problem.”
John Kavanagh and the other Republican Party Chairpersons who embrace this view that all is well and business can proceed as usual like it was before COVID 19 need to be receptive to the concerns and needs of the people scared to attend events where some of the participants (including committee members) subscribe to the Trump Zone-Fox Island-Disinfowar views on science.
They need to let the people testify remotely if they want.
They need to do the right thing.
Do not use COVID 19 to shut out the people from the political process.
If we the writers at the Blog do not make you come to our homes to explain your many responses to the many articles you have voiced views on, then you should not make people come to a potential COVID spreader event at the State Legislature.