SACRAMENTO August 27, 2020 – Senate President pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins (D-San Diego) released the following statement regarding the remainder of Senate session and remote voting:
“The Senate has worked throughout the COVID-19 pandemic to keep the Capitol safe for the public, Senators, and staff. That effort includes adhering to strict science-based protocols to determine who can safely enter the Capitol, and it includes the new processes we started developing this Spring to provide Senators the ability to debate and vote remotely should the circumstances warrant.
“Following the announcement yesterday that a Senator had tested positive for COVID-19, we immediately ordered a complete cleaning of Senate facilities and began contact tracing to ensure everyone who might have been exposed was informed. Unfortunately, the nature of the gathering that resulted in the exposures was such that virtually every member of the Republican Caucus is now unable to enter the Capitol without violating public health orders. I know our Republican colleagues are disappointed not to be on the floor or in their offices today, but I also know they would never knowingly put the health and safety of others at risk. Accordingly, the Senate Rules Committee has arranged for our Republican colleagues to debate and vote from their residences as we work to conclude the people’s business by the August 31 constitutional deadline.
“While previous Senate proceedings allowed Senators to participate only from their District Offices, that would also unfairly put others at risk, so remote voting during these last few days of session has to be conducted from a location that will protect the exposed Senators, as well as the others Senators and staff essential to completing our work this year. For that reason, we will only allow the exposed members, who are subject to a quarantine order, to participate from their Sacramento residences. I know you all join me in wishing a speedy recovery to Senator Jones and in hoping that our quarantined colleagues remain in the best of health. Thank you all for your patience and your perseverance through these unprecedented and constantly changing times.”