Stars and Stripes stripes.com 05 Jan, 2021 01:15 am

Statehouses could prove to be hothouses for coronavirus infection

Statehouses could prove to be hothouses for coronavirus infection
Many legislatures will start the year meeting remotely, but some Republican-controlled statehouses, from Montana to Pennsylvania, plan to hold at least part of their sessions in person, without requiring masks.

The 400-member New Hampshire House plans to hold its first session day Wednesday with a drive-in event at the University of New Hampshire in what acting Speaker Sherm Packard called the body's “most risk-mitigated session” yet during the pandemic.New Hampshire House Speaker Dick Hinch, a Republican, died from COVID-19 on Dec.” Associated Press writers Holly Ramer in Concord, New Hampshire, and Farnoush Amiri in Columbus, Ohio, contributed to this report.Public health officials say that move endangers the safety of other lawmakers, staffers, lobbyists, the public and the journalists responsible for holding politicians accountable.

“If the session is held without public health precautions, it is highly likely that the virus will spread in that environment, and it’s highly likely that we’ll see serious illness and, God forbid, deaths come from that,” said Drenda Niemann, the health officer in Lewis and Clark County, which includes the state capital of Helena.Edwards spoke in opposition to public health restrictions to prevent the spread of the coronavirus during his campaign.

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