Connecticut lawmakers will hold public hearings and most meetings only by video conference during the first month of the 2022 legislative session due to the coronavirus.
Senate President Martin Looney and House Speaker Matt Ritter, both Democrats, announced the plan Friday and said the remote-only policies will be reviewed again at the end of February. This year’s session begins Feb. 9.
Leaders of the Democratic majorities in both chambers said in a statement that the hearings and meetings will be held on Zoom and “members of the public will once again be able to testify remotely from the safety and convenience of their home.”
Republicans criticized the decision to start the session remotely. They said many residents who sought to testify by videoconference last year weren’t allowed to, because Democratic leaders shut down some public hearings early.
“This is not ‘increasing access.’ This is more governing in the dark,” said Senate Republican Leader Kevin Kelly, of Stratford. “Connecticut residents have all done what it takes to make our schools safe, to reopen businesses, to safely attend concerts and recreation events. So why is the Capitol building — the people’s building — any different?”