By Bob Katzen

The Senate 4-34, rejected an amendment that would allow a senator to participate in any Senate session remotely from their office, home or any other location only under certain circumstances. The amendment would replace a section that allows a senator to participate remotely without a specific reason.

The circumstances under which a senators could participate remotely would include disability, illness, the need for a member to provide care for an immediate family member, pregnancy or childbirth of a member or said member’s spouse, domestic partner or partner.

“The legislative process works best when members are present and interacting with one another during formal sessions,” said sponsor Sen. John Keenan (D-Quincy).

Amendment opponents said the unlimited remote voting during the pandemic shows that that system worked well. They noted that the amendment does not include several other legitimate reasons including bad weather. They noted that it is time for the Senate to get into modern times and make permanent the rule allowing remote voting at the discretion of each senator.

(A “Yes” vote is for the amendment allowing remote voting only in certain circumstances. A “No” vote is against the amendment and favors remote voting at the discretion of each member.)

Sen. Patricia Jehlen No

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