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Skype session? La. lawmakers consider remote meetings during emergencies


BATON ROUGE, La. (WVLA/WGMB) — Zoom, FaceTime and Skype are all terms people are using more than ever these days, as COVID-19 redefines how groups meet. And Louisiana lawmakers may get in on the action, too.

State House and Senate members are considering how to meet by videoconference should a future emergency arise. Current limits on hearing bills remotely have complicated budget talks amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The virus led legislators to pause their 2020 Regular Session from mid-March until early May, leaving little time to consider bills. A special session will follow June 1.

Legislation from state Sen. Sharon Hewitt (R-Slidell) would also let members of the public testify on bills remotely during declared emergencies. This follows a spring that has left many advocates staying home, feeling caught between speaking their minds and exposing themselves to the virus.

It’s unclear when lawmakers would have the ability to hold remote hearings. Legislators have proposed conducting a study to determine the demand and extent to which they can operate through videoconferences.

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