The halls of power in states across the country have not been spared the brunt of the COVID-19 pandemic. All states have been implementing changes in their normal operations, and legislative sessions come 2021 are set to differ significantly compared to the past. Here is an overview of the biggest changes to expect:
- Limited Attendance
Fewer lawmakers will attend sessions in person as states are issuing strict directives on social distancing. However, all lawmakers can attend the sessions virtually through live-streaming technology. Legislatures may also adopt a hybrid system, whereby some members attend in person while others do so remotely.
- Fewer, Longer Sessions
Many legislatures are also contemplating reducing the number of planned sessions. This may be unavoidable, especially considering that the restrictions caused by the pandemic have brought many things to a halt. However, some legislatures are also considering offsetting this limitation by increasing the lengths of each session.
- Fewer Bills
Lawmakers will also limit the number of bills under review for several reasons. The primary reason is the limitations on convening. The slow-down in operations will also contribute significantly. However, it is expected that some legislatures will take the opportunity to try and pass sensitive bills, most of which are expected to be heavily partisan.
- Smaller Budgets
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating effect on the economy. Many states are projecting budget cuts as high as 30%, and legislative operations will take a big hit. This is expected to persist through 2021, but there may be some reprieve along the way, depending on how soon a solution emerges.
When Does It End?
These new changes may persist throughout 2021. However, things may take a semblance of getting back to normal if a cure is found. For now, legislatures will have to adapt to keep the wheels turning and Engagifii LEGISLATION is helping them do just that.