The Delaware State Senate announced today that all formal legislative proceedings, from the floor session itself to committee hearings, will allow for in person and virtual participation.
Here are the details:
- As COVID and other respiratory illnesses remain a serious public health concern, it is important that anyone — legislators, staff, or members of the public — who are feeling sick, showing symptoms, or testing positive for COVID stay home. Mask wearing, while not required inside Legislative Hall, remains encouraged.
- Legislative proceedings will be held in-person but will continue to be broadcast online via the General Assembly website. This will enable the public to continue to view their government from the convenience and safety of their homes. Recordings will also be available online.
- Committee hearings will all be held in-person in either the Senate Chamber, the Senate Hearing Room, or the Joint Finance Committee Room. Each of these rooms will be set up to stream the meeting to Zoom.
- The Senate will continue to utilize the Zoom Webinar platform, which allows for two different levels of meeting participation: panelists and attendees.
- Panelists, which include committee members and expert witnesses, will be seen by all attendees on camera.
- Members of the public may join as attendees and will not be shown on camera or allowed to mute/unmute freely without being elevated to the level of “panelist” or without staff granting them permission to unmute.
- Public comment will continue to be offered virtually, as well as in-person, at the Chair’s discretion and as time allows.
- Committee notices will continue to be posted on the General Assembly website, and each notice will contain a registration link for virtual participants.
Senate President Pro Tempore Dave Sokola: “When we began holding legislative session and running committee meetings via Zoom back in 2020, it was strictly out of necessity. Now, three years later, we have seen the tremendous benefits of using the technology available to us to allow for both in-person and virtual participation. The Senate is eager to continue conducting business in a hybrid manner going forward. Our government works best when the public is able to participate with ease.”
Senate Majority Leader Bryan Townsend: “During the height of the pandemic, when the legislature was only able to hold virtual committee meetings, public participation skyrocketed to levels Legislative Hall meeting rooms simply couldn’t accommodate alone. Now, as the Senate moves forward with a hybrid format, those who prefer to attend proceedings in person will have that option, while those who prefer to participate remotely as they shuffle work, school, or other responsibilities, will have that ability preserved.”