An opinion column published yesterday in The Missouri Times is calling on the state legislature to ensure open and transparent government by enabling Missourians to join hearings virtually. "The legislature is not exempt from needing to change with the times and the reality of the pandemic," the column states.
The legislature suspended operations this week because of a COVID-19 outbreak, prompting the column signed by Sara Baker, legislative and policy director, ACLU of Missouri; Carl Bearden, CEO, United for Missouri; Jeremy Cady, state director, Americans for Prosperity - Missouri; Nimrod Chapel Jr., state president, MO NAACP; and Jeanette Mott Oxford, director of policy and organizing, Empower Missouri.
"Starting now," the column argues, "the Missouri Legislature must create a meaningful virtual option for the public to engage in legislative hearings. For individuals who judge themselves able to come to the legislature in-person, let them; however, for the thousands of Missourians for whom that is not an option, the government must not forget its obligation to govern in the open."