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MT Legislature postpones Friday floor sessions after positive COVID test at Capitol

State Capitol Helena
Posted at 6:37 PM, Apr 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-15 20:37:05-04

HELENA — Floor sessions on Friday at the Montana Legislature will be postponed after a member of the "government affairs community" tested positive for COVID-19.

Sen. Jason Ellsworth, the COVID-19 Panel Chair and deputized public health official, said the postponement was made to allow the Legislature's contact tracer time to work. Committees may meet virtually tomorrow.

It's not known which lawmakers will be contact traced or if there will be any positive tests among lawmakers.

“This is exactly why we planned for a hybrid legislative session providing the option for both legislators and members of the public to participate remotely and also formed the COVID Panel,” Ellsworth said in a statement. “We’re nearly done with the 2021 session and outside of a handful of isolated COVID-19 cases, the session to this point has progressed very smoothly and safely. We planned for this possibility and are taking steps to move forward safely and responsibly.”

For committees that were previously scheduled for tomorrow, members of the public should check the committee's schedule on the website to see if the committee will be meeting virtually and sign up to testify via Zoom. The Legislature is working on eliminating the normal Zoom registration deadline for tomorrow's committees that choose to meet. Montanans can also always submit written testimony to committees.

Capitol staff are already following existing sanitization protocols.

Six lawmakers have tested positive for COVID-19 since the start of the session: Reps. Ross Fitzgerald, Becky Beard, Brian Putnam, David Bedey, Fiona Nave and one unnamed lawmaker.