The drive-in NH House of Representatives meeting on January 6th was a waste of resources and time, and directly endangered the health and safety of many Representatives and others in attendance. But equally as important is the fact that this convening was not accessible to the 80,000+ people in our state who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing (source). The House of Representatives failed to provide an interpreter or live captions for this event, which is in direct violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and a disservice to the thousands of people in our state who rely on these accommodations.
As a late-deaf person, I too rely on interpreters and captions to fully understand what is being said. We are lucky to have an easy and cost-effective way to hire interpreters and captioners in our state through Northeast Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services (source)-- it is not difficult or expensive to do. Additionally, interpreters and captioners can be dialed into a teleconferencing meeting, and therefore would not have to travel if meetings were virtual, which further reduces the cost of providing this vital accessibility tool.
The people of New Hampshire deserve transparent and easily accessible legislative proceedings. Therefore, we demand that the NH House of Representatives make all future proceedings virtual, and that they ensure meetings are interpreted and captioned. Let's work together to make our democracy safer, more transparent, and more accessible.