Câmara Municipal de Campinas | Brazil
Written on September, 2020
The Campinas City Council implemented a range of measures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure the continuity of legislative activities. This essay will discuss the innovative steps taken by the Council, the impact on the legislative process, and the lasting implications of these changes.
Establishing a Strategic Planning and Emergencies Committee
To address the pandemic, the Campinas City Council formed a committee of councillors and civil servants, tasked with advising the Speaker on strategies and administrative measures for tackling COVID-19. This committee played a crucial role in the development and implementation of new protocols and procedures, ensuring that the Council continued to function effectively in the face of unprecedented challenges.
Implementing Remote Deliberation
The Council adopted remote deliberation using the Zoom platform, integrating it with TV Câmara to enable discussions and voting on proposals. This innovative approach allowed for real-time debates, with up to 100 simultaneous connections, ensuring that councillors, legislative advisory staff, and media bodies could participate fully in the legislative process. To facilitate the transition to remote deliberation, user manuals and workshops were provided, with civil servants available for technical support during meetings.
Modifying the Legislative Process
The Council made several changes to the legislative process during this period, including granting councillors access to the sigadoc system for electronic submission of proposals. Committee meetings and public hearings were also held remotely, allowing for greater reach and participation from the public. These modifications enabled the Council to maintain productivity and engagement, even as the pandemic necessitated physical distancing.
Ensuring Cybersecurity and System Stability
Recognizing the importance of cybersecurity during remote deliberations, the Council provided computers with Linux systems and custom Ubuntu distributions for use by councillors and civil servants. Additionally, access controls and privilege assignments were implemented to safeguard the integrity of the legislative process and maintain a secure web environment.
Lessons Learned and the Future of the Legislative Process
The pandemic underscored the need for the legislative power to adapt and become more accessible to the population. The Campinas City Council successfully transitioned to remote deliberation, ensuring the continuity of the legislative process while maintaining quality and security. The Council also implemented the open-source Rocket chat solution to improve productivity and communication within the administrative body.
The Campinas City Council’s experience demonstrates that it is possible to adapt and embrace technology to better serve the community. The Council’s legislative school, ELECAMP, developed courses aimed at educating the community about the role of the state and the Legislative. As a result of its efforts, the Campinas City Council received third place in the transparency and inspection award carried out by the Chamber of Deputies of Brazil in 2019.
The Campinas City Council’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic showcases the potential for innovation and adaptability in the face of unprecedented challenges. By implementing remote deliberation, modifying the legislative process, and ensuring cybersecurity, the Council not only maintained its operations but also demonstrated a commitment to embracing new technologies and approaches that could have lasting impacts on the way the legislative power functions in the future.
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