By Guy Bergstrom, Washington State Legislature staff member.
On Thursday, March 21, 2019, the House of Representatives approved a measure by Representative Jared Mead (D-Mill Creek) to allow people to testify remotely in House committees.
“I’m proud that this idea had such strong support from Democrats and Republicans in every corner of the state,” said Mead, who had a total of 58 lawmakers signed onto the bill as co-sponsors.
It takes 50 votes to pass legislation off the floor of the House.
The state Senate is already allowing for remote testimony, which Mead says will help let more constituents be heard, especially those in rural areas along with seniors, the disabled and those who can’t easily make the drive to Olympia.
Mead introduced House Resolution 4621, which authorized the change, earlier this legislative session and said in his remarks on the floor of the House that modern technology made this idea possible.
He went on to say, “This is about making our democracy accessible to everybody. Washington is a big state, and it’s a day-long trip for millions of people to drive to and from Olympia to testify on a bill for three minutes. Remote testimony is also a great alternative for working people.”
“This is what democracy is all about: listening to the people we represent.”