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Monday, August 3, 2020

California Senate delays work as coronavirus cases soar

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) – The California Senate will delay its work because of a coronavirus outbreak at the Capitol and an increasing number of new cases across the state.

The Senate had been scheduled to return from its summer recess on Monday. But a memo from Secretary of the Senate Erika Contreras says it won’t be in session next week because of the virus.

“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,” Contrearas wrote.

The state Assembly has already announced an indefinite hiatus after six people who work there tested positive for the virus. They include Assemblywoman Autumn Burke, a Democrat from Inglewood, who was exposed to the virus on the Assembly floor last month while wearing a mask.

Despite the recesses, lawmakers are scheduled to finish work on Aug. 31.

California isn’t the only state with an outbreak in the state Capitol. In Mississippi, at least 26 state lawmakers and 10 others who work in the building have tested positive for the virus. The Mississippi Legislature ended its session on July 1.

California lawmakers missed nearly two months of work earlier this year at the start of the pandemic. When they returned in May, they had to act quickly to approve a scaled down budget that included slashed spending and temporary tax increases for some businesses to cover an estimated $54.3 billion deficit.

Newsom signed that budget into law last month. Lawmakers then took a brief recess, planning to return to Sacramento on Monday to finish work on hundreds of bills on topics including housing and health care.

But hospitalizations from the virus have jumped 44% in the past two weeks, and Gov. Gavin Newsom has ordered bars to close and restaurants to halt indoor dining in counties with troubling increases in cases, including Los Angeles and San Diego counties.

Copyright © 2020 The Washington Times, LLC.


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