Montana Legislative committee won’t allow public to testify over Zoom – Then reverses course.
The Senate Judiciary committee’s chairman Tuesday said he would not allow testimony from members of the public outside the building over remote platforms like Zoom during the legislative session.
Sen. Keith Regier, a Kalispell Republican, said the Senate Judiciary Committee would not allow the public to testify over Zoom but would take written submitted comments, which the committee has done in non-pandemic sessions too.
“For 130 years, people have been coming to this building to testify on bills. They rode their horse, their old Model T, but they came here physically to the Capitol. And I’ve decided not to accept Zoom testimony from witnesses outside of the building here,” Regier said.
Soon thereafter, Republican chairman Regier and the Republican majority reversed course, saying that all Senate committees will allow for remote testimony. The legislature called to order on Monday at noon. Fights over restricting public comment and participation occurred in Monday afternoon and Tuesday morning before the reversal on Tuesday afternoon. The public must register at least twenty-four hours before a committee hearing in order to receive the Zoom link to testify. The sign-up for remote participation is on the Montana legislative website at leg.mt.gov.
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