Serving Franklin County, WA

House to remain virtual to start legislative session

OLYMPIA — The public and lawmakers are being barred from in-person participation in the legislative process again this year in the state House of Representatives.

On Friday, House members voted along party lines, with Democrats citing the continuing coronavirus pandemic and voting to continue to bar in-person debate and testimony.

All House Republicans voted for reopening legislative processes to lawmakers and the public.

But the ban isn’t permanently planned. Democrats noted the need to prohibit in-person actions will be reviewed every two weeks.

With the 60-day session planned to open session Jan. 10, the first review would take place Jan. 24.

Meanwhile, legislative committees will see or hear only remote testimony from residents. Written comments may also be submitted.

House Republicans have filed a lawsuit in Thurston County Superior Court to require reopening of the legislative process; a judge has yet to rule in that case.


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