Update: State Actions on Remote Legislative Participation (Feb. 9, 2021)

By Sierra Hatfield, CSG Policy Analyst

Executive Summary

This update expands upon remote participation in state legislatures to provide a current snapshot of practice and plans for remote participation across all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Table 1 summarizes the types of remote participation utilized by each state.  Changes are marked with triple X’s.  States prefer to at least allow participation by tele-means, such as telephone or teleconference.  Previously 10 states either did not or were not planning to utilize remote participation in the legislature, although that list has decreased to nine as the Alaska Senate attempts to allow participation by video conference.

Five states have updates this week.  They are:

  • Alabama
  • Alaska
  • Illinois
  • New Mexico
  • Wyoming

Type of Remote Participation by State (updated Feb. 9)

State  NoneUndecidedBy ProxyBy Tele-meansBy VideoBy Other Electronic Means
AL     x
AKx   xxx 
AZ     x
AR  x   
CA x    
CO x    
CT   x  
DE   xx 
D.C  x   
FL x    
GA     x
HI   xxx
IL x  xxx 
IA x    
KS x    
KY  x xx
LA   x x
MA   xxx
MI     x
MN    xx
MO x    
MT x    
NE x    
NV   xx 
NH x    
NJ   x x
NM   x x
NY   xx 
NC  xxx 
ND   xx 
OH   xxx
OK  xxx 
OR x    
PA  xx  
RI x    
SC x    
SD   x x
TX x    
UT   xxx
VT x    
VA x    
WA   x  
WI   x  
WY     x

State by State Updates

AL – Alabama

Legislative Session Dates: 02/02/21 – 05/18/21

Consideration of Remote Participation:

  • Governor Kay Ivey gave the State of the State address last week as legislators watched by remote feed before meeting in the capitol.

AK – Alaska

Legislative Session Dates: 01/19/21 – 04/19/21

Consideration of Remote Participation:

  • The Senate passed SCR 1 last week that allows members to participate via videoconference if they contract COVID-19 or to establish quorum.

IL – Illinois

Legislative Session Dates: 01/13/21 – 01/12/22

Consideration of Remote Participation:  Engaged

  • The Senate announced last week that members will convene in committees by video conference unlike the House which is scheduled to meet for nine days in February with only one being approved for remote participation.
  • Video of committee action will be available on the legislature’s website.

NM – New Mexico

Legislative Session Dates: 01/19/21 – 03/20/21

Consideration of Remote Participation: 

  • House members contested a lawsuit’s allegation that temporary rules allowing remote participation violate the public’s rights to due process as more than 15,000 people watched or participated in legislative proceedings during the first week of session.

WY – Wyoming

Legislative Session Dates: 01/12/21 – 03/04/21

Consideration of Remote Participation: 

  • Governor Mark Gordon, Senate President Dan Dockstader, and House Speaker Eric Barlow have committed to a plan for a hybrid remote and in-person session beginning March 1.  The plan includes requirements such as social distancing, masks, and that all executive branch members participate in legislative business remotely.

This analysis was last updated on February 9, 2021. If you have additional information or would like to update the information for your state, please contact Sierra Hatfield via email at [email protected].