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Montana politics, elections and legislative news.

Sixth Montana Lawmaker Contracts COVID-19

At a House Judiciary Committee meeting at the Montana Capitol January 5, 2021 lawmakers wearing masks and those with bare faces sat next to each other. Some committee chairs are requiring participants to adhere to public health guidance, others aren't.
Shaylee Ragar
/
Montana Public Radio
At a House Judiciary Committee meeting at the Montana Capitol January 5, 2021 lawmakers wearing masks and those with bare faces sat next to each other. Some committee chairs are requiring participants to adhere to public health guidance, others aren't.

A sixth Montana lawmaker has tested positive for COVID-19.

According to a news release from GOP leadership, the lawmaker did not authorize his or her name to be released, as has happened with other lawmakers who have contracted the virus. The GOP press release said the unnamed lawmaker is in quarantine away from the Capitol. 

The latest case in the Montana statehouse comes as the Idaho Legislature remains closed for two weeks due to COVID-19 cases. Eight Idaho lawmakers have tested positive there since January. 

In Montana, tracing of close contacts of those who test positive has been underway since February. Lawmakers have been able to get tested and receive the COVID-19 vaccine at the Capitol if they meet distribution requirements. 

When Montana lawmakers were debating the rules that govern the legislative session in December, Republicans declined to adopt public health safety measures proposed by Democrats, like a mask mandate or working all-remote. 

Instead, lawmakers adopted a hybrid option to allow participation via video chat and created a panel to respond to virus-related issues. The COVID-19 response panel last met on Jan. 14. 

Shaylee is Montana Public Radio's Capitol reporter. She previously worked for the Bozeman Daily Chronicle and covered the 2019 legislative session for the University of Montana's Legislative News Service.
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