By NANCY WEST, InDepthNH.org
The New Hampshire House Twitter feed posted a “public announcement” late Monday afternoon that Tuesday’s Special Committee on Redistribution session will be broadcast live on the House of Representatives YouTube channel, although the The video option is not mentioned in the Chamber’s calendar.
The House calendar only indicates that the public is invited to attend in person at 6 p.m. at the Old County Courthouse, 5 Court St., Concord, in the Community Hall for the first of 10 public consultation sessions in the State on redistribution.
House Speaker Sherman Packard R-Londonderry said the Constituency Committee was working Monday morning on the live broadcast of Tuesday’s public contribution session, but was not sure it would be possible, although this was confirmed on the Chamber’s Twitter thread by late Monday afternoon.
âI think they were working on it, the staff and the committee,â Packard said, adding that there will be a public meeting in each county and the committee needs to find facilities capable of handling the live broadcast.
âWe can only do what we can do. We’re not trying not to do it, âPackard said of the live streaming on YouTube.
The Maison’s Twitter feed published on Monday: “Barring unforeseen technical difficulties, the public comment session of the Special Committee on Redistribution scheduled for Tuesday, September 14 at 6 p.m. will be broadcast live on the House of Representatives YouTube channel. https://youtube.com/channel/UCxqjz56akoWRL_5vyaQDtvQâ¦”
Packard said the plan is to ensure that all committee meetings in the legislative office building can be broadcast live by January.
Packard said he never said they weren’t going to be broadcast live, just that they weren’t going to be on Zoom.
The difference is that lawmakers can remotely connect to Zoom, but for live streaming of the video to the public, lawmakers must be in the committee room. âWe weren’t doing Zoom,â Packard said. âCommittees have to meet in person. ”
Packard has been sued by seven Democrats with disabilities in the House, including Minority House Leader Renny Cushing, D-Hampton, who argue they should be able to participate remotely under the Americans with Disabilities Act, which was heard Friday by the Court of Appeal of the first circuit. The panel took the matter under advisement.
Packard’s attorney argued that statutory immunity precludes prosecution. But much of the questions posed by the appeal committee focused on whether having to deal with the possibility of death from COVID-19 by being forced to meet in person where it is. there is no mask requirement could be considered a virtual eviction from the House.
Cushing said after the hearing: “The President and his legal counsel’s continued insistence on absolute legislative immunity once again illustrates the cavalier attitude he and his caucus members have shown in the face of the threat. posed by COVID-19. ”
Democrats complained that many members of the Republican House were not masks and did not engage in social distancing at State House and the Legislative Office Building.
Packard has said he prefers live video because he believes House members should work together in person and that doesn’t happen on Zoom.
“It’s best if the House resumes its meetings in person,” said Packard, who believes face-to-face meetings build relationships.
He said committee meetings are held in double rooms at the legislative office building and are fitted with new air filtration systems so that they are safe.
âWe are working on different plans and have a number of proposals on live streaming of committee meetings,â Packard said. âIt’s not cheap,â Packard added, but didn’t provide any details on the proposals or the costs.
New Hampshire House spokeswoman Jennifer Tramp said if live information for offsite meetings was not available when the House schedule was released, it would be posted on the Tribunal’s website. in addition to social media channels.
âConcord location details were not available at the time of the schedule’s release. We subsequently posted the link on the website and social media,â Tramp said.
Over the next several months, the House and Senate redistribution committees will redraw the political boundaries of the House, Senate, Executive Council, and the state’s two seats in Congress. This is done every 10 years using updated US Census data to adjust the dividing lines due to population changes in cities and towns across the state.