Published: 8/29/2021 7:00:16 AM
We are not the same people we were before COVID-19 changed the fabric of society. No industry has been spared. We’ve normalized telemedicine, online ordering and delivery for everything from coffee to toilet paper, and professional offices now hold virtual meetings. Yet the House speaker is sending notices for upcoming House committee meetings in September without a remote participation option. These in-person only committee meetings are happening despite the third wave of the COVID pandemic, the rise of the Delta variant, and requests from members.
Virtual meetings are not a partisan issue. I have colleagues on the other side of the aisle who are also currently in the workforce and would like to meet via video conference. The in-person committee meeting divide appears to be a disconnect between the old guard who run the legislature and want to return to face-to-face meetings versus younger legislators who are connected to the work world where remote meetings are now part of the fabric of their daily lives. We cannot predict the future but we can learn from the past. Using technology is now how we do business in every other sector in New Hampshire. We need to continue holding House committee meetings and doing the people’s business with remote video participation. The 21st century is here and we cannot go back.