With 2021 rapidly approaching, we will soon be back in session and able to consider limiting the governor’s emergency powers. His use of those powers to rule for over eight and-a-half months has made it clear that the Legislature must have more options.
In the meantime, we are preparing for a session that promises to be just as different as the interim has been. Last month the Senate facilities and operations committee decided the protocols for the 105-day session that begins Jan. 11, including the closure of Senate buildings to the public. Debates and voting in the Senate chamber (known as “floor action”) will be conducted remotely, with a limited number of in-person staff and senators. The same is true of committee hearings and work sessions. While the public will be permitted to peacefully assemble on the Capitol campus, people will not be allowed to gather inside the Rotunda or view floor action from the galleries. Face-to-face meetings will be replaced with “zooms” or “teams,” and remote testimony will be more important than ever.