An Ohio state senator may have fooled anyone watching this week’s state board meeting that he was attending from home if not for one thing: a seatbelt.
Additionally, at one point, he turned his head to look over both shoulders in an attempt to safely change lanes inside his home office.
In the footage of the meeting, which was broadcast live on Monday, the senator, Andrew Brenner, showed up in a parked car for the first time. After a few minutes’ call, Mr. Brenner moved his phone, left the meeting for a while, then reappeared and changed the background image to look as if he was sitting in his home office surrounded by cabinets. brown, houseplant and hanger. artwork.
But on his chest, a dark gray seatbelt stood out on his shirt.
As he drove, Mr. Brenner, a Republican representing an area north of Columbus, seemed to pay attention ahead as he listened to and answered questions from members of the State Control Board. , a body of elected officials that makes adjustments to the state budget.
Although the office floor obscured much of Mr. Brenner’s car, a glimpse of the scenery could be seen from the driver’s side window as he moved his head.
Mr. Brenner did not immediately respond to a request for comment. He told The Columbus Dispatch that he was “not distracted” during the meeting and was “attentive to driving and listening” to the discussion.
Mr. Brenner told The Dispatch: “I had two meetings in a row taking place in separate locations. “And I did get other calls, lots of calls, while driving. Most phone calls, but during video calls, I don’t pay attention to video. It felt like a phone call to me.
Brenner’s multitasking coincided with the introduction of a distracted driving bill in the state House of Representatives. The bill would extend the ban on texting while driving, currently a secondary offense in Ohio, to explicitly ban texting, streaming, taking pictures and using mobile apps while driving. vehicle.
The bill would make holding and using an electronic device while driving a major offense.
Earlier this year, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine included provisions in his budget proposal to prevent distracted driving.
“Ohio’s current laws don’t go far enough to change the culture around distracting driving, and people are dying from it,” Mr. DeWine said in a statement. “Distracted driving is a culturally unacceptable option like drunk driving today, and strengthening our existing laws will lead to more responsible driving.” .
Brenner is not the first to give an advantage in what is acceptable in video conferences during the coronavirus pandemic. As court meetings and proceedings have gone online since last spring, a lot has been made. The judges have complained about the lawyers participating in the proceedings wearing shirts and the defendants logged the hearing in bikinis, and even naked.
Last month, Rebecca Saldaña, a Democratic senator in Washington, apologized after she attended a video legislative hearing while driving, The Seattle Times reported.
In February, a plastic surgeon in California attended a Zoom traffic trial from an operating room and a Texas lawyer who was struggling with the filter had to explain to the aesthetic. states that he is “not a cat”.