As of a vote Wednesday, state legislators will be able to vote remotely in the upcoming legislative session. The Legislative Procedure and Arrangements Committee, which met at the Capitol this afternoon, voted 9 to 1 to amend House and Senate Rules to count remote participation as the same as being physically present.

Remote participation includes voting, and for lawmakers choosing to do so, “The system must provide means to record and make public the member’s roll call votes.”

Committee Chairman Sen. Rich Wardner (R, Dickinson) says there will be obstacles with the remote participation, but nothing the lawmakers can’t handle.

“There’s going to be some new challenges because we’re going to be doing all this video conferencing. Our committee clerks are going to have a different job description — they’re going to be indexing the electronic testimony, there’ll be people that’ll be testifying online, getting them queued up and stuff like that. It’s going to be different than it’s been. There’s going to be some challenges, but we’ll get it done,” Wardner said.

The vote also allows for spread out seating and limitations on the number of people in the galleries, among other changes.