Home>Articles>Assembly committees to stay remote through June, but session press restrictions to ease

New Jersey State Assembly Chambers in Trenton, New Jersey. (Photo: Courtesy of the New Jersey Office of Legislative Services)

Assembly committees to stay remote through June, but session press restrictions to ease

Reporters will be allowed on chamber floor for June 21 session, McArdle says

By Nikita Biryukov, June 10 2021 1:42 pm

The General Assembly will continue holding virtual committee hearings through the end of June, though it will ease access restrictions for voting sessions on June 21.

The Assembly gallery, which has remained closed to the public and press for much of the pandemic, will remain shuttered at the chamber’s June 21 voting session, said Kevin McArdle, a spokesman for Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin, but reporters will be allowed onto the chamber’s floor.

The lower chamber has taken a far more conservative approach with its proceedings during the pandemic than have been adopted by the State Senate, which has largely eschewed remote functions for the past 15 months.

The Assembly, meanwhile, has favored remote committee hearings for much of the past year. It’s voting sessions have included significant limits on in-person attendance.

By this point, its lawmakers have moved to the Assembly floor, with plexiglass panels dividing members from one another, though in months past members were split between the floor and the Assembly gallery in a system that sometimes had members from opposing parties casting their colleagues votes.

The gallery has remained off limits even after lawmakers were moved downstairs, with spectators relegated to viewing the chamber’s proceedings through live streams.

There isn’t much legislative activity expected in July and August, months during which the legislature rarely meets in typical times, and it’s unclear how active lawmakers will be in the fall with elections looming.

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