New Hampshire House

New Hampshire House to Hold Hybrid Public Hearings on Bills

Lawmakers will attend the hearings in-person while all public testimony will be done by phone or video, House Speaker Sherm Packard said Monday

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The New Hampshire House plans to hold "hybrid" public hearings on bills while the Statehouse remains closed because of the coronavirus pandemic, Speaker Sherm Packard said Monday.

Packard, R-Londonderry, told business leaders that lawmakers will attend the hearings in-person while all public testimony will be done by phone or video.

Lawmakers who do not wish to attend in person also can join remotely, he said during an online discussion with other legislative leaders organized by the Business and Industry Association.

"We just had the machines delivered today that are going into the committee rooms that will clean the air five times per hour," he said. "We hope to at some point to get back to doing things in person again."

The Senate held its first online public hearings Monday.

Sen. Donna Soucy, the Senate minority leader, said nearly 60 people attended.

"We had more people participating, at least tuning in, than ever before," said Soucy, D-Manchester. "Doing things virtually has opened up a lot of opportunity, particularly for business people who would find it difficult to drop things in the middle of day, drive to Concord have to wait sometimes for hours to testimony when the hearing before went too long."

The 24-member Senate also met in an online session last week, but House Republican leaders have resisted that idea. Instead, the 400-member House convened from their cars Wednesday in a parking lot at the University of New Hampshire.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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