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Most GOP State Senators In Quarantine After Being Exposed To COVID-19

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Sacramento, CA – Most Republican members of the California Senate were absent from proceedings in the state Capitol on Thursday after they were exposed to the coronavirus, prompting an unprecedented change of allowing lawmakers to vote via video conference as the Legislature rushes to complete their work by Monday’s deadline.

Republican state Sen. Brian Jones from the San Diego area confirmed in a Facebook post on Wednesday that he tested positive for the virus. Jones was not only on the Senate floor on Monday with his colleagues but also attended a caucus lunch on Tuesday with 10 of the 11 members sitting around a large conference table and removing their masks to eat.

Mother Lode State Sen. Andreas Borgeas discloses, “I took a test “I took a test on Tuesday morning and received the negative result yesterday.”

The Senate canceled the session on Wednesday. But senators meet today as lawmakers are running out of time to pass pending legislation. Hundreds of bills are pending, including dozens of high profile measures, including police reforms filed in the aftermath of George Floyd’s killing in May and a proposal to protect people from eviction due to not able to pay their rent because of the pandemic. Action was taken on several bills, but the roll was held open so Republicans could add their votes later.

Sen. Borgeas reacted, “In the most technologically advanced state in the nation, California leaders should be able to provide alternative means for the Legislature to vote remotely and conduct the people’s business when health is substantially at risk.” He added, “These are extraordinary times, and we will continue to work through these circumstances to advocate on behalf of all Californians.”

All senate republicans were scheduled to be tested for the coronavirus on Thursday. This is the third time the Legislature has been delayed. In March at the start of the pandemic and then in July after at least seven capitol staffers and two lawmakers tested positive for the disease.

Protocol at the capitol requires anyone entering the building from the public entrances be screened for symptoms, including temperature checks. Those same rules did not apply to lawmakers and staff entering the building from the parking garage. As of today, everyone entering the building is now required to go through the screening process.