California Legislature

California Lawmakers Absent After Possible Virus Exposure at Party

The Capitol Building in downtown Sacramento.
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Some California lawmakers including Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon missed Thursday's legislative session after attending a party with a lawmaker who later tested positive for the coronavirus.

Rendon, who has since tested negative, instructed anyone who attended the Tuesday party to stay home rather than attend the session, his spokeswoman Katie Talbot said in a statement. State health guidelines don’t require people who are vaccinated and boosted to isolate following possible exposure, but Rendon made the request out of caution, she said.

The event was a going away party for former Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, who announced Monday she was resigning for a position with the California Labor Federation, the Los Angeles Times reported. The party was held at a downtown Sacramento hotel.

Twenty-seven Assembly members missed Thursday’s session, but some were absent for other reasons, the Times reported. This is the legislature’s first week of session since September and no major votes took place. The chamber traditionally has 80 members, though a handful of seats are vacant due to mid-term resignations.

Democratic Sen. Josh Becker was the lawmaker who tested positive for the virus, which he announced Wednesday morning on Twitter. He is vaccinated, boosted and wore an N95 mask, he told the Times. Gonzalez tweeted Thursday she tested negative and had worn an N95 mask when she wasn't eating or drinking.

Talbot said she did not know how many Assembly members attended the event and how many had been asked to stay at home. The next session day is Monday, and Assembly members will be required to test before being allowed on the floor, she said.

Senate Secretary Erika Contreras said in a statement any senators at the gathering for Gonzalez were told to quarantine for five days and then take a PCR coronavirus test. Eight out of 40 senators were absent from Thursday's session, though Contreras said absences could also be due to personal or business reasons. Republican state Sen. Scott Wilk was among those who were absent; he announced Monday he'd tested positive for the virus the day before.

Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkin's office didn't immediately respond to an email asking how many senators were absent Thursday due to that protocol.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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