1. Some of New Hampshire legislators standing outside their cars and with hands over their hearts as the National Anthem is played at the beginning of a drive-in legislative session
2. SOUNDBITE (English) Rep. Jeanine Notter, (R) New Hampshire:
"This is one for the history books. This is unprecedented. It's different. It's ... I feel sorry for the freshmen because this is nothing like a regular session. Apart from being apart, we're all in our cars. We're outside, can't see each other. And, like one of the speakers said, we don't have the opportunity to get to know each other yet. So it's a lot more difficult to hear our voices. They don't see our faces."
3. Wide of the drive-in legislative session as the National Anthem is played
4. Close up of the flag of New Hampshire state flag
5. Legislators get into their cars as the drive-in legislative session begins
6. SOUNDBITE (English) Rep. Melissa Blasek, (R) New Hampshire:
"This is my first term, and I have never been a representative before and I have not been to the state house yet, actually. We were sworn in on the field over there and now we're out here in the parking. It's wild."
7. A large screen instructing lawmakers to tune in to a radio channel for listening to drive-in legislative proceedings
8. SOUNDBITE (English) Rep. Jeanine Notter, (R) New Hampshire:
"Well, at the very beginning, there was an issue with the voting clickers. Some representatives had clickers that were not working and then one of the reps in the ... towards the back figured out that if he put it outside the window, then then it worked."
9. Close up of the Speaker's gavel on the podium at the beginning of the legislative session
10. SOUNDBITE (English) Rep. Melissa Blasek, (R) New Hampshire:
"It's been a little bit of a logistical problem, but, you know, listen, we're lawmakers and it's time to work, so we'll make that happen however that needs to happen."
11. Various of lawmakers eating and snacking in their cars while the drive-in legislative session is underway
12. SOUNDBITE (English) Rep. Jeanine Notter, (R) New Hampshire:
"You see all the technical problems we're having, I just can't see a remote session working, you know."
13. Various of protesters at the entrance to a University of New Hampshire parking lot that served as the venue of the drive-in legislative session
14. SOUNDBITE (English) Rep. Melissa Blasek, (R) New Hampshire:
"No, I don't believe in remote sessions, I think that we all knew that COVID existed when we chose to run and we chose to accept those risks. If we weren't willing to accept those risks, then we should not have run. So, no, I was fully prepared to be a legislator in the State House and that is how I am contending that we should still be."
15. Wide of the drive-in legislative session underway, with a freight train visible as it passes in the background
The usual shoulder-to-shoulder was more like bumper-to-bumper for the New Hampshire House of Representatives on Wednesday as one of the world's largest legislative bodies convened from the socially distant confines of their cars instead of the Statehouse.
The start of the drive-in legislative session was delayed by over an hour as cars lined up to get into the parking lot at the University of New Hampshire where the session was being held.
Legislators were greeted by a handful of protesters who felt the session has failed to reasonably accommodate members with disabilities. One sign read that drive-ins are for movies and making out, "NOT for the NH State Legislature!"
As business got underway, House Clerk Paul Smith advised, some lawmakers encountered problems with their electronic voting devices.
The 24-member Senate also convened Wednesday, but in a fully remote session.
House Democrats had pushed for the same, but acting Speaker Sherm Packard, a Republican lawmaker representing Londonderry, said that wasn't possible because the House hadn't adopted rules to allow remote sessions.
He also has said doing so would cost $300,000 to set up a secure voting system.
Instead, the 400 House lawmakers parked in alternating spots in staggered rows facing a large movie screen in Durham.
The House clerk and speaker will conduct the session from a heated platform, while members watch and listen via the screen or through their car radios.
Microphones will be brought to their windows for questions and debate, and voting will conducted via electronic devices similar to those used during the indoor arena session.
Since the coronavirus pandemic began, the House has met indoors in an ice arena and outside on an athletic field at UNH.
But after House Speaker Dick Hinch, a Republican lawmaker from Merrimack, died of COVID-19 a week after being sworn in during the Dec. 2 outdoor gathering, Republican House leaders scheduled a drive-in movie style session to elect his replacement and adopt rules for the next two years.
Coronavirus , Infectious diseases , Diseases and conditions , Health , Coronavirus , Lung disease , 2019-2020 Coronavirus pandemic , Government and politics , Automotive industry regulation , Industry regulation , Government business and finance , Business , Government business and finance , Industry regulation , Government regulations , State legislature , State governments , State legislature , Legislature , Voting machines , Voting , Elections , Electronic voting
University of New Hampshire, New Hampshire State General Court, New Hampshire state government