Rep. Skyler Rude: Remote testimony encourages civic engagement and public participation in the legislative process
In this technology-driven age, the Legislature needs to ensure accessibility and transparency in the legislative process. Access needs to be user friendly and available to everyone.
Although a 130-year-old institution, the legislature must keep up with changing technology that enhances access. It is important that we make and honor that commitment to you.
After driving back and forth from Walla Walla to Olympia for six years now for my official duties, both as staff and now as your representative, I know it is not feasible for many of us to drive over the mountains to testify on the important policies that impact our families, businesses, and way of life. Your thoughts, opinions, and questions can influence decision-making in Olympia.
The Senate has been successfully providing remote testimony options in their committee hearings for a number of years now.
Last year, I co-sponsored a resolution to expand the program to House committees as well. That resolution resulted in a task force which created a model policy adopted as a pilot for the 2020 session.
By giving our communities the option to actively participate from remote sites ensures lawmakers hear from Eastern Washington and can make more informed decisions on important policy.
Three committees, at this time, offer remote testimony: College and Workforce Development; Housing, Community Development and Veterans; and Local Government.
There are four locations that are setup with the technology to connect remotely to these committees:
- Bellingham Technical College in Bellingham;
- Central Washington University in Ellensburg;
- Spokane Community College in Spokane; and
- Columbia Basin College in the Tri-Cities.
We are fortunate to have a location close to us, and I encourage you to utilize this service.
It is important the work we do on your behalf in Olympia stimulates participation, facilitates understanding, and provides transparency in our government.
For more information, resources, and to sign-up to use remote testimony, I invite you to visit www.leg.wa.gov. On the left side of the screen, click on the Committees button. Once you are on the committees page, you'll see the link click on remote testimony.
As always, I am here to help you navigate state government as an active participant in the legislative process. Please contact my office for any assistance getting a bill scheduled for remote testimony.
It is my honor to serve you!
As published in the Dayton Chronicle and Prosser Record-Bulletin
(EDITOR'S NOTE: Rep. Skyler Rude, R-Walla Walla, serves the 16th Legislative District)