Senate Leader Atkins Statement on Remote Voting in the Senate
SACRAMENTO – Senate President pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins (D-San Diego) issued the following statement on the Senate’s implementation of remote voting under certain circumstances:
“In these unprecedented times, the Senate has to be able to do the people’s business in a way that protects the health of members, staff, and the public, and is consistent with our Constitution.
“In keeping with the rules we established in March and processes we tested in the spring, the Senate will now allow for remote voting in committee. Senators who have an approved accommodation request due to COVID-19 will be able to vote in their committees remotely from their District Offices. The committee chair and a quorum of members must be present in the Capitol for any committee to proceed. Senators participating remotely will not receive per diem. The public can attend committee meetings in person, if masked, and subject to social distancing. The public will continue to be allowed to express their views on bills before the committee using the teleconference system the Senate has used successfully during the pandemic.
“The Senate has been in contact with legal experts and open government groups, and that has shaped many of the actions we are taking in order to move forward. We believe this approach maximizes the work we will be able to do during the pandemic in a way that respects the state Constitution.
“At this point, remote voting is limited to Senate committees. We will share more information on floor votes as those decisions are made, but remote voting on the floor does remain an option for the Senate depending on how conditions develop. We have been guided all along by the goal of maintaining as much of our customary practices as we can consistent with the state of the pandemic and the advice of health experts.
“While the Senate and Assembly are taking different approaches, we are on track to the same goal: meeting California’s crises head-on, using the best tools we can to meet each set of circumstances presented.”
Toni G. Atkins is President pro Tempore of the California Senate. Having previously served as Speaker of the California Assembly, she began her tenure in the Senate in 2016. As Senator for District 39, she represents the cities of San Diego, Coronado, Del Mar and Solana Beach. Website of President pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins: www.senate.ca.gov/Atkins