Ad campaign calls for legislature to keep, expand remote testimony

Jan 4, 2018

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January 04, 2018                                                                                                          Jason Mercier 509-491-3393

SEATTLE—Washington Policy Center (WPC) has launched a statewide ad campaign to encourage the legislature to embrace and expand remote testimony options for citizens.  Last year, the state Senate enhanced its use of remote testimony by launching a pilot project “to expand opportunities for citizens across the state to actively participate in the legislative process from locations outside of Olympia, Washington.” In social media and newspaper ads, WPC calls for an expansion of those efforts and for the state House of Representatives to match the Senate by offering citizens the opportunity to testify remotely during legislative hearings.

Without options for remote testimony, citizens seeking a chance to offer sixty to ninety seconds of testimony before legislative committees often endure hours of travel to Olympia and a missed day at work, with citizens on the east side of the state also frequently braving mountain passes in dangerous winter conditions.  Remote testimony enables citizens to travel to secure, local locations to testify via video conferencing technology.

No legislation is required for the expansion of remote testimony.  Whether remote testimony is allowed or not is determined by the rules each legislative body sets for itself.

“Hardly a week goes by during session without a warning of severe weather impacting travel across the Cascades,” said Jason Mercier, WPC’s Government Reform Director. “The ability to participate in the legislative process should not be weather dependent.”

Sen. Sharon Brown (R-Kennewick) and Sen. Mike Padden (R-Spokane Valley) helped the Senate launch the option for remote testimony for citizens in 2015.

“Remote testimony has been a resounding success in the Washington State Senate for the people of Eastern Washington. Government is of the people, by the people, for the people,” said Sen. Brown. “Public participation in government is essential. Geography should not be a limiting factor in public participation.”

The incoming Senate Deputy Majority Leader, Sen. Andy Billig (D-Spokane), has confirmed the new Senate leadership plans to continue providing the opportunity for remote testimony during the 2018 Legislative Session.

“We are encouraged to hear the Senate plans to continue offering remote testimony options,” said Mercier. “Now is the time for the House to follow the Senate’s lead and embrace remote testimony for those that wish to testify. In a high-tech state like ours, offering remote testimony is just common sense.”

Additional Information

Ad Sample: