The rules of the Missouri House have been amended to allow for remote public testimony during select public hearings for the 101st General Assembly. Only certain House hearing rooms are currently equipped to receive remote testimony so it cannot be utilized for all committee hearings at this time. In order to allow remote testimony for a public hearing, the committee in possession of the bill must vote to authorize remote testimony during the previous committee hearing. Only those who have requested to testify remotely and been approved for remote testimony by the committee shall be allowed to do so. Regardless of whether remote testimony has been approved, committee hearings will still be livestreamed and accept in person testimony or electronically submitted written testimony.

What is remote testimony?

If authorized by a committee, approved members of the public may testify on a specific bill remotely via zoom or audio teleconferencing instead of attending the public hearing in person at the State Capitol. The time and manner of the remote testimony will be established by the committee.

When can I testify remotely?

Remote testimony will only be allowed for a bill if authorized by the committee hearing the bill. If the committee is to consider remote testimony for a bill, it must do so at the committee hearing prior to the hearing in which public testimony is taken. The notice for the hearing during which the committee considers remote testimony will state that the committee will be considering remote testimony and specify for what bills the remote testimony will be considered. Members of the public who wish to testify remotely on any of those bills must request to testify remotely before the hearing to consider remote testimony. During that hearing to consider remote testimony, the committee will determine whether or not remote testimony will be accepted on the specified bill(s) at the following hearing, and if approved, set the parameters for such remote testimony. At that time, the committee will also specify who has been authorized to testify remotely. A link or call in number will then be sent to those individuals authorized to testify remotely. The legislator assistant for the Chair of the committee will coordinate the remote testimony.

How do I request to testify remotely?

Once a hearing has been scheduled to consider remote testimony on a bill, members of the public can request to testify remotely. Requests must be made before the hearing to consider remote testimony begins. Requests can be made through the electronic witness appearance form. There will be a link to the form on the hearing notice. The form will allow the witness to choose whether he or she will appear in person, would like to submit written testimony, or would like to request to testify remotely. If remote testimony is not an option for a particular bill, or the time period to request to testify remotely has passed, the option will no longer be available on the witness form. Requests to testify remotely can also be made directly to the chair or ranking member of the committee prior to the meeting to consider remote testimony.

What is the difference between remote testimony and written testimony?

Remote testimony must be approved, on a case by case basis, for each public hearing. Written testimony will be accepted for all bills that receive a public hearing. Written testimony can be submitted through the electronic witness appearance form and will be available on the bill page of the House website.