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Delaware House of Representatives will continue meeting in hybrid format

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Delaware Public Media
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Delaware’s House of Representatives will offer all committee meetings and sessions in hybrid format in an effort to increase public participation.All committee hearings and sessions will be live-streamed online, matching a move made by the state Senate last week.

The COVID-19 pandemic forced government agencies to find new ways to reach the public when in-person communications was no longer an option – but those methods are carrying over into the General Assembly’s daily business today.

House Majority Leader Valerie Longhurst says live streamed proceedings make the legislative process much more accessible.

“It's pretty significant," she says. "It really depends on the bill, of course, but it's amazing how many people will join that never usually join usually, you get the same people coming in and testifying, but now it's opened up to a lot of people so that if they're working, they don’t have childcare, they have any type of issues at home, they're able to just log in and be able to give testimony.”

She adds it helps lawmakers too.

“We do get emails, but having people speak live allows us to really get a good feel of what that bill means to them, whether they support it or they don't support it," Longhurst says. "It just gives you a better understanding of what all Delawareans expect, or what they can participate in the legislative process and opens it up a little bit more than normal just by having people having to come down.”

If any member of the public wishes to give comment remotely, they must call into the established conference call line and enter the passcode provided on the committee meeting agenda page.

The public can also submit written comments via email at HouseCommitteeComment@delaware.gov before or up to close of business the day after the committee meeting takes place. All public comments will be incorporated into the committee meeting record.

Rachel Sawicki is Delaware Public Media's New Castle County Reporter. They are non-binary and use they/them pronouns.