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California State Capitol. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for California Globe)

Senate Joins Assembly In Delaying Return To Capitol Due To Coronavirus Outbreak

6 Capitol workers, including an Assemblywoman, have contracted COVID-19 in the Capitol since late June.

By Evan Symon, July 8, 2020 9:05 am

On Wednesday, the California Senate joined the Assembly in temporarily suspending the current session.

Autumn R. Burke
Autumn R. Burke. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for California Globe)

Due to a COVID-19 outbreak in the Capitol Building that has infected 6 people, including Assemblywoman Autumn Burke (D-Marina Del Rey), with the coronavirus, the Senate decided to delay it’s return from the summer recess by a week. Originally scheduled to return o the 13th, the Senate is now scheduled to reconvene on Monday, July 20th.

However, a letter from the Secretary of the Senate Erika Contreras has put the final return date in doubt.

“After careful consideration of the increase in COVID-19 cases in the Capitol community and throughout the state, the Senate has made the decision not to return to session next week, July 13-19,” said Contreras in the letter. “We will continue to monitor the public health situation, and I will notify you as soon as it is determined an appropriate time to return to session.

“As has been our practice since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, Capitol and office phones should be transferred to cell phones and answered during regular work hours, to continue providing resources, assistance and service to constituents.”

Assembly leaders, who closed the Assembly and other Sacramento offices on Monday, noted a view of reconvening on Wednesday.

Assemblyman Anthony Rendon. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for California Globe)

“The Assembly will remain in recess until further notice,” explained Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D- Lakewood). “We have taken this decision, as we did in March, to protect members, staff and the public from exposure, and it comes in light of recent news of positive coronavirus tests in the Capitol.”

Assemblywoman Burke and the 5 infected Assembly workers had contracted the coronavirus around June 26th, the date where the Capitol Building was busier than usual due to a vote on passing the state budget for 2020-2021. All 6 people had worn masks at the time.

“The entire building is now getting what the restaurant community would call a ‘deep cleaning’,” said ‘Dana’, a Capitol Building worker now working from home to the California Globe. “They’re trying to work around it due to the session ending at the end of next month, and I’m getting lots of emails each day about it.

“Hopefully it won’t end up like the budget where two months of being on hiatus due to the lockdown led to the budget being approved and signed at the wire last month.

“No one here wants that, but we’ll see happens. Knowing the Senators and Assemblymembers here, they’re going to get as much in as possible.”

The current end date of the session is set for August 31st. It is unknown if the date will be extended to accommodate the number of bills and time needed to properly discuss and vote on them this session.

Evan Symon
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