Rep. Mosbrucker encourages citizen participation in virtual 2021 legislative session

With the 2021 legislative session being held largely through virtual computer programs, such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams, Rep. Gina Mosbrucker says it will be more important than ever for citizens to pay attention and become involved.

“We are up against some enormous challenges with legislators attending committee meetings and floor sessions virtually and voting remotely. This has never been done before in the history of our state,” said Mosbrucker, R-Goldendale.

“We want to keep people safe, but there's also concern that technology glitches and connectivity issues could be a problem and, in the worst cases, prevent some lawmakers from having a voice on vital issues. These are issues we are trying to work out,” she continued.

On Monday during the opening day of the 105-day session, Mosbrucker and other House Republicans voted against temporary rules that require House lawmakers to vote remotely. Republicans voiced concern that a virtual format could provide an environment in which open and public debate could be stifled.

“I voted no because the expectations of me to be present and on the job should be the same as what I expect of my employees. If I ask my employees to go to work, I should also be present on the job, not just virtually,” said Mosbrucker.

House Resolution 4600, establishing the temporary rules, was adopted 55-39.

Mosbrucker, who will be working during the legislative session from her office in Goldendale, said citizen participation in committee meetings will be important to ensure lawmakers receive input on important legislation under debate.

“If there's a silver lining from this virtual session, it is that people across the state who haven't been able to travel to Olympia to testify will now have the opportunity to do so remotely from the convenience of their homes. I highly encourage citizens to take advantage of this opportunity and let lawmakers know where they stand on the issues,” said Mosbrucker.

The 14th District lawmaker provided several ways for citizens to be involved remotely:

  • Remote testimony: The Legislature has expanded remote testimony capabilities so people can testify on any bill from anywhere up to an hour prior to a committee meeting.
  • Submit written testimony: Citizens have long been able to submit written comment on a bill, but prior to this year, those comments were sent directly to the constituent's own legislators. This year, the new written testimony system saves comments in which committee members and staff can access and read it. Committee staff also will later place it in the committee file and archive it where it will be maintained as part of the public record.
    • Written testimony can be submitted at the same links used to sign-in for public testimony above.
  • Set up a Zoom with your legislator: Due to Covid-19 protocols, legislators won't be meeting in person with constituents, but people may schedule Zoom meetings with me and other representatives and senators.
  • Watch it unfold on TVW: Every committee meeting, floor session, press conference and special event will be broadcast at TVW.org.

Mosbrucker also invites citizens to contact her with questions, comments, suggestions and concerns about state government or potential legislation.

“Some of the best and most successful legislation has come from the people I serve,” said Mosbrucker. “I may not be able to meet with constituents in person as frequently as in the past. However, I do want to hear from people as much as possible during and even after the legislative session. They can email me, call my office or schedule a virtual meeting with me online.”

People may call Mosbrucker's office at (360) 786-7856 or (360) 761-1194, email her at: gina.mosbrucker@leg.wa.gov, or visit her website: http://ginamosbrucker.houserepublicans.wa.gov. Information about bills and committee hearing schedules may be found at: www.leg.wa.gov.

“The state Capitol may be closed during the session, but I will be as open and accessible as I can in a safe manner with all citizens who wish to communicate with me,” she added.

The 2021 legislative session is scheduled through April 25.

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Washington State House Republican Communications
houserepublicans.wa.gov