Lawmakers debating whether to return to in-person sessions
DELAWARE – Things are heating up in legislative hall and it’s not over a bill. Lawmakers are deciding whether or not to return to in-person sessions. Although both sides say they are eager to get back, some are more anxious than others. Republican Representative Ruth Briggs-King says, “Government works best when it’s closest to the people and this to me, the zoom has been a distance from the people.”
Legislators tell 47 ABC, the lack of in-person public participation was key in previous sessions and they want to get back to in-person as soon as possible. Republican Senator Brian Pettyjohn adds, “I think that with appropriate precautions, not only could we return to legislative hall we’d also have the public there to participate in this public process that affects them in their daily lives.”
However, those who wish to wait think otherwise. “A lot of anxiety about us not being there, we do want to be there but a lot of concern about doing it too quick, doing it too early,” says Democratic Senator Dave Sokola. He says he believes technology has allowed more people to participate all while staying in the comfort of their home. “I’m a big believer in openness, transparency, and inclusion we’ve tried to make a good faith effort to accommodate each of those, technology has helped us,” says Sen. Sokola.
Although all legislators wish to be back in person, one side is posing the question, why not if there are those back to in school learning, then why can’t they be back too. “Without that in-person, that personal interaction with the senators the representatives and the people of Delaware I think a lot get’s lost,” says Sen. Pettyjohn. Rep. Briggs-King adds, “And I think it’s incumbent upon us to recognize those heroes have done it and to a certain extent we can do it too.”
47 ABC also reached out for a comment from the house of Democrats, but they say they are no longer commenting on the subject. Many legislators agree, they ideally would like to be back in-person by the end of May but argue there should be a plan in place before returning.