CONCORD, NEW HAMPSHIRE – Today, the House Special Committee on Redistricting met in-person for a work session. Deputy House Democratic Leader and Ranking Redistricting Democrat Representative David E. Cote released the following statement:
“I thank the Democratic members of the Special Committee on Re
districting for their strong advocacy in support of maximum transparency and public input at today’s meeting. Due to the Speaker’s decision to forbid any committee members from participating remotely, I was unable to attend today.
Heretofore, I have remained at home and participated in legislative activity remotely due to my underlying health condition during the pandemic. Over the last month, COVID-19 cases have spiked in New Hampshire.
All ten Granite State counties are now areas of “high” community transmission, meeting the CDC recommendation for universal masking in public indoor areas. Despite the CDC’s recommendation, Republican leaders have eliminated the mask policy in the State House complex. The Speaker’s decision to d
isallow any remote participation has forced the immunocompromised and people with underlying health conditions including myself to choose between risking our lives and representing our constituents.
Contrary to the Speaker’s claims, rules specific to the state of emergency are not required to allow remote participation by members. As long as a quorum of members is present in-person, permitting individuals to participate remotely does not violate House Rules. We have the technology to work safely and used it successfully for six months. The Speaker’s unnecessary intransigence could have the most serious consequences to public health.”
Background: See the attached 8/18/21 letter from Democratic Leader Renny Cushing to Speaker Packard urging a mask mandate in LOB committee rooms and requesting he permit individual members to participate in committee work remotely.