UPDATED 3:20 PM PT – Thursday, January 7, 2021
New Hampshire’s House of Representatives conducts a drive-in legislative session.
On Wednesday, 400 state lawmakers parked bumper-to-bumper to pick a new House Speaker and to adopt congressional rules for the next two years. The newly-elected House Speaker stood on a heated platform as he led the session. Fellow lawmakers listened through a large screen or their car radios.
This came as the Republican-led House decided against meeting virtually over concerns that creating a secure live stream voting system would cost somewhere upwards of $300,000. Some representatives also insisted that lawmakers should continue to meet in-person regardless of the pandemic.
“No, I don’t believe in remote sessions, I think that we all knew that COVID existed when we chose to run and we chose to accept those risks,” Rep. Melissa Blasek (R-N.H) said. “If we weren’t willing to accept those risks, then we should not have run. So, no, I was fully prepared to be a legislator in the State House and that is how I am contending that we should still be.”
It’s not the first time New Hampshire’s House of Representatives has gotten creative. They’ve also convened indoors at an ice arena and outdoors on an athletic field throughout the pandemic.