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Politics & Government

Livestreaming becomes a mainstay in Delaware's legislature

house_chamber_floor.jpg
Roman Battaglia
/
Delaware Public Media

State lawmakers announce the return of livestreaming during committee meetings next year.

The pandemic forced lawmakers to meet virtually for the first time ever — and they found members of the public were glad to have the option of logging in from home rather than driving to Dover.

Committee meetings saw record attendance, sometimes with more people tuned in virtually than would have been able to fit into a committee room.

In a joint statement from House and Senate leaders today (Wednesday), they say Delaware was behind other state governments in modernizing access to the legislative process — being one of the last legislatures in the country to offer live streaming of sessions before the pandemic.

House Speaker Pete Schwartzkopf notes, “...by offering an online option, we are combining both worlds as we continue to modernize our legislative process.”

Lawmakers expect to return to in-person sessions and committee meetings next year, pending guidance from public health officials.

But Schwartzkopf says they’re keeping these virtual options to allow for greater accessibility to state lawmakers.

Cameras and monitors were installed in six hearing rooms to accommodate hybrid meetings.

Lawmakers return to session on January 11th next year.

Roman Battaglia is a corps member with Report for America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms.