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What social distancing is costing politics

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Say this much for social distancing: Putting public meetings on video conference has made it easier for more people to take part.

When the coronavirus crisis first hit in spring 2020, government functions ground to a halt as everyone stayed home, or tried to. When it became clear that approach was untenable, many public meetings switched to video format, meaning people could stay safe from infection but still know what their elected officials were up to. This applied not just to local government, but at the state level.

This change had undeniable benefits. Testifying before a state legislative commission can take an entire day out of your schedule, maybe more, if it needs to happen in person. By opening up the possibility of video testimony, not only could more people take part, but more could watch at their convenience. That’s a step forward for government transparency and accountability.

That new paradigm has…

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