Testifying to Lawmakers in Olympia May Get Easier with Remote Te - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Testifying to Lawmakers in Olympia May Get Easier with Remote Testimonies

Posted: Updated:
Columbia Basin College hopes they can be home to video remote testimony for the Tri-Cities. Columbia Basin College hopes they can be home to video remote testimony for the Tri-Cities.
TRI-CITIES, WA- It might get easier for Southeastern Washingtonians to testify to lawmakers in Olympia because a video remote testimony system could be coming to Columbia Basin College.

Olympia is a little over four hours away from the Tri-Cities, and that distance might make some less likely to travel up there to voice their opinions at legislative hearings.  Some hope that will change because of remote testimony.

Columbia Basin College offered to help with the remote testimony, but they have to wait for final approval.

The Tri-Cities are not the first ones to come up with this idea, but it is one some locals said is needed.  The community reached out to the college and the school is on board.

"It would be a remarkably different experience than having to drive over there and perhaps be intimidated by all the marble and the suits," said Columbia Basin College President Richard Cummins.

Cummins said the school has the space and the resources.  He also said it was the community that suggested the idea to him.

"It was almost as good as being there in person," said Jason Mercier, Director, Center for Government Reform.

Mercier tried remote testimony out in Spokane. 

It was basically like Skyping someone except you talk to legislative committees.

Spokane is now looking for a remote testimony clerk.

Mercier agreed that it was easier than traveling to Olympia.

"You're not taking an entire day off of work to get over there, in hopes that the passes are open or there's not a pole that has fallen," said Mercier.

Senator Sharon Brown, 8th Legislative District, said it is good to finally have this technology and they will work to make sure it is finalized.

"We're working in conjunction with CBC and our staff here in Olympia to make sure we can have that remote testimony that won't be interrupted and that we have good communication capabilities," said Sen. Brown.

Cummins said it will allow a lot more people to be able to have a voice.

"It extends democracy.  It allows direct participation.  It's a great thing," said Cummins.

Sen. Brown said she hoped to have this remote testimony up and running in the Tri-Cities in the next couple of weeks.
HD DOPPLER 6i
/