SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — A coronavirus curveball at the Capitol. Ten of the 11 Republican California State Senators are now banned from the Capitol building by public health orders after concerns of exposure from a positive case.
The exposure comes during one of the busiest weeks of the year at the capitol, the end of the legislative session.
Republican State Senator Jim Nielsen expressed his outrage, as the only Republican now allowed on the Senate floor after the exposure.
“It is an extreme situation,” Nielsen said. “There is a hypocracy in the majority.”
Republican State Senator Brian Jones announced he tested positive for the coronavirus Wednesday. Contact tracers determined he exposed every one of his Republican Senate colleagues, except Nielsen, at in-person caucus meeting this week.
Contact tracers also determined no senate Democrats were exposed, a point with which Nielsen takes exception.
“So why don’t we all shut it down now,” Nielsen said.
Democratic Senate Pro Tem Toni Atkins announced the Republicans now barred from the Capitol building during these important final days of this legislative session will be able to vote remotely from home. Stopping the session is not an option.
“Right now we are actually running out of time, if we want to get through the hundreds of bills we still have,” Senator Atkins said.
The public health decision to isolate Republicans exposed at such a crucial time for debate left open the prospect of politics at play.
“You know it is an issue,” Republican State Senator John Moorlach said. “This certainly comes up at an awkward time, when you have to get everything done by August 31st.”
Senator Moorlach is one of the Republicans now in isolation. Besides contact tracing, cleaning crews also disinfected areas of the Capitol possibly exposed.
“It’s a compromising of the process,” Senator Nielson said.
The coronavirus at the state capitol. Yet another crossroads between politics and the pandemic.