DomeLight by Jim Zachary

DomeLight by Jim Zachary 

Working at home does not mean not working.

Many of us are working remotely, regardless of our professions, and may even find ourselves working more.

Oddly, without going in to the workplace or office and having very defined hours, it seems it is hard to find the off switch. More often than not, we find ourselves working much longer hours.

We are employing tools we might have only used occasionally, or that we are learning how to use for the first time.

We are using Slack to communicate and organize workflow.

We are having meetings using Zoom, Skype or GoToMeeting.

We are texting more and having more one-on-one telephone calls and conferences calls.

The word “meeting” is taking on a whole new meaning for most of us.

If we had a home office, we are actually using it, and if we didn’t have one, well there is always the kitchen table or that extra bedroom.

That’s the workplace.

That’s how business is happening right now.

That’s the private sector.

Now, how about the public sector?

While the General Assembly suspended the 2020 legislative session and sent lawmakers back to their districts, that does not mean they stopped being state representatives and senators during the suspension.

The women and men we have elected to represent us must not act as if they are on furlough from their public duties.

To be fair, some lawmakers are reporting they are getting more phone calls than ever, and that is understandable.

People are confused, concerned and even fearful, and many are looking to the government for answers to very complicated questions.

Lawmakers may not always have good answers to complicated questions, but they should be talking to the people in their respective districts — and they should still be engaged in the legislative process, as much as possible.

In much the same ways that the private sector has learned to make accommodations, use technology for remote conferencing and spend more time on the telephone, lawmakers can — and should — continue doing the people’s business while sheltering in place.

Suspending the legislative session itself, was the right thing to do for the health and safety of lawmakers and to set the right tone and example for the state of Georgia, but suspending the session is not the same as suspending the people’s business.

There are still several pieces of legislation up in the air, several difficult and important votes to be taken and eventually the General Assembly will reconvene. When that happens, every representative and senator should be fully prepared and ready to get down to business — the people’s business.

CNHI Deputy National Editor Jim Zachary is the president of the Georgia First Amendment Foundation and editor of The Valdosta Daily Times.

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