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Lawmakers Grapple With How To Have Session Amid COVID-19

Screenshot of committee livestream

State lawmakers are preparing for a legislative session in January that must adjust to the COVID-19 pandemic.

A study committee tasked with resolving that issue had its first meeting Thursday.

Legislators say they need to consider a variety of approaches to adjusting to a session amid COVID-19. Sen. Mike Crider (R-Greenfield) said that can be anything from members in high-risk categories who participate via virtual meetings and voting to using more space throughout the Statehouse to appropriately socially distance.

“All the way down to, this building is closed; it’s not available for use," Crider said. "And what do we do in that scenario?”

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Sen. J.D. Ford (D-Indianapolis) said lawmakers also have to consider how the public will participate in the session.

“Making sure that folks have their ability to come in and have their say,” Ford said.

One of the first steps the study committee will take is deciding how the legislature will change its rules – and even state law – to allow for flexibility on how the session will run.

Contact reporter Brandon at bsmith@ipbs.org or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.

Brandon Smith is excited to be working for public radio in Indiana. He has previously worked in public radio as a reporter and anchor in mid-Missouri for KBIA Radio out of Columbia. Prior to that, he worked for WSPY Radio in Plano, Illinois as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. His first job in radio was in another state capitol, in Jefferson City, Missouri, as a reporter for three radio stations around Missouri. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.