Update: State Actions on Remote Legislative Participation

By Sierra Hatfield, CSG Policy Analyst and Patrick Edwards, Intern

Executive Summary

This update expands upon previous posts on remote participation in the legislature to provide a current snapshot of 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  Changes marked with strikethroughs (x) show outdated information while triple x’s (xxx) show current information.  Most states continue to prefer to at least allow participation by tele-means, such as telephone or teleconference.  Only eight states are not using any form of remote participation, with New Hampshire recently making that decision.

Six states have updates this week.  They are:

  • Alaska
  • California
  • New Hampshire
  • New Mexico
  • Nevada
  • South Dakota

Type of Remote Participation by State (updated Feb. 22)

State  NoneUndecidedBy ProxyBy Tele-meansBy VideoBy Other Electronic Means
AL     x
AK    x 
AZ     x
AR  x   
CA x    
CO x    
CT   x  
DE   xx 
D.C  x   
FL x    
GA     x
HI   xxx
IL x    
IA x    
KS x    
KY  x xx
LA   x x
MA   xxx
MI     x
MN    xx
MO x    
MT x    
NE x    
NV   xx 
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

AK – Alaska

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

Consideration of Remote Participation:

  • The Senate passed a resolution earlier this month to allow for remote voting by videoconference.

CA – California

Legislative Session Dates: 01/04/21 – 09/10/21

Consideration of Remote Participation: 

  • Legislators in the California Assembly introduced Assembly Bill 339 that would require all government meetings to have internet-based attendance and participation options.

NH – New Hampshire

Legislative Session Dates: 01/06/21 – 01/05/22

Consideration of Remote Participation: 

  • A federal judge denied House lawmakers’ request to require that the Speaker provide remote access to two House sessions for members with special health conditions.

NM – New Mexico

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

Consideration of Remote Participation: 

  • Virtual participation in New Mexico’s 2021 Legislative Session is increasing at a record pace.
  • The New Mexico Supreme Court on February 12, 2021 rejected a lawsuit filed by three House Republicans that challenged the chamber’s remote participation rules for the ongoing 60-day legislative session.

NV – Nevada

Legislative Session Dates: 02/01/21 – 06/01/21

Consideration of Remote Participation: 

  • Assembly members introduced a bill last week that would require lobbyists to pay a $300 registration fee to advocate on behalf of their clients remotely.

SD – South Dakota

Legislative Session Dates: 01/12/21 – 03/29/21

Consideration of Remote Participation:

  • After eight positive tests among legislators in the South Dakota House, the president pro tempore of the state Senate loosened restrictions on remote participation in the legislative process.
  • Nearly one in four members in the 70-member South Dakota House of Representatives participated remotely on Tuesday in Pierre, S.D., as the number of COVID-19 confirmed cases has jumped to at least eight in the people’s house.

This analysis was last updated on February 22, 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].