Legislation Continues Remote Public Testimony in Colorado General Assembly Committees

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Remote testimony on bills, a positive outgrowth of the COVID-19 pandemic, likely will remain an option for the public during future sessions of the Colorado General Assembly.

House Bill 22-1413, which passed the House State, Civic, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee on Wednesday, authorizes the Legislative Council’s Executive Committee to set policies for letting lawmakers take testimony from people via their computers.

It removes outdated language in the law permitting testimony by teleconferencing from “centralized remote sites located around the state.”

“Being able to participate remotely is actually a way to promote democracy and allow more voices to be heard at the table,” said House Majority Leader Daneya Esgar, D-Pueblo, who introduced HB 22-1413 with House Minority Leader Hugh McKean, R-Loveland.

Prior to the pandemic, nearly all testimony on legislation had to be in person at the state Capitol in Denver, with people often waiting hours in committee rooms for their turn to speak. The legislature permitted remote testimony on certain bills from 10 designated locations outside the Denver metro area.

For a time after COVID-19 hit in 2020, the legislature only allowed testimony in person or in writing. People eventually were given the opportunity to testify by Zoom no matter where they are located, and legislative staffers produced a six-minute video explaining how to sign up and participate.