Idaho lawmakers to offer remote testimony

AP

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BOISE (AP) — Two Idaho lawmakers are launching a pilot program to accept remote testimony during legislative hearings.

The Post Register reports that the program will allow citizens to testify from Idaho Falls, Pocatello, Salmon, Twin Falls, Post Falls and Moscow.

While legislative hearings are open to the public, it can be difficult for people to travel to Boise from rural areas — particularly during the winter months — to testify in front of lawmakers. Furthermore, it’s not that uncommon for lawmakers to postpone testimony at the last minute.

The first opportunity Idahoans will have to offer remote testimony is on Monday during hearings on a handful of House education bills. This includes a bill encouraging public schools to offer gun safety classes and a bill that would continue to allow schools to hire relatives of school board members in rural areas.

Those interested in testifying Monday must sign up on the Idaho Legislature’s website by 9 a.m. Sunday.

The program is spearheaded by House Education Committee Chairwoman Julie VanOrden, a Republican from Pingree, and Rep. Caroline Nilsson Troy, a Republican from Genesee.

Troy said a similar program is in place in Alaska, a sprawling state that can be difficult for residents to access the Capitol during the legislative session.

Currently, remote testimony is only being accepted on bills selected by VanOrden, but Troy is hoping to expand the program to other committees depending on interest.

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Information from: Post Register, http://www.postregister.com

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