If you want to speak to Colorado lawmakers over the next few weeks, you’ll have to do it in person.
Leaders in the House and Senate — Democrats, in each case — confirmed Tuesday, as the General Assembly convened for the first time since coronavirus forced a closure in March, that legislative committees will not accept witness testimony by video or telephone.
This will become more relevant in a couple weeks, when the legislature is expected to dig into a couple dozen new bills related to coronavirus response. Their legislative work this week primarily involves killing bills that were left on the calendar when the Capitol closed 11 weeks ago, either because the bills cost more than the state budget can now afford, or because Democratic lawmakers don’t believe the bills are priorities for their time.
“We aren’t doing any remote testimony. You’re allowed to testify in person,” said Bella Combest, a spokeswoman for the Senate Democrats. “We are encouraging people to submit written testimony if they’re not able to come in.”
Up until the mid-March shutdown, lawmakers were allowed to request remote testimony for their bills, and there were 10 different sites around the state that were available for that purpose. But those sites are all on college campuses and currently unstaffed, Capitol leaders say.
That means anyone who can’t make it to Denver to testify this session has only one option: submit written testimony through leg.colorado.gov/testimony.
Leaders in the House and Senate have said they intend to allow certain lawmakers to vote remotely over the next few weeks, but they have not yet established the rules to allow for that.
Lawmakers are also exempted from social distancing rules at the Capitol. Any member of the public entering the building must wear a mask and maintain at least 6 feet of space from others. Lawmakers are not required to do either of those things, and in fact many Republicans were seen on the House and Senate floors Tuesday without masks on.
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