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Montana Floor Sessions Postponed After Lobbyist Tests Positive For COVID-19

Montana Capitol.
William Marcus
Montana Public Radio
Montana Capitol.

Montana lawmakers are postponing Friday’s floor sessions and not meeting in person in response to an outside case of COVID-19.

Lawmakers are staying home from the Capitol to allow time for contact tracing after Sen. Jason Ellsworth, chair of the Legislature’s COVID-19 response panel, was notified Thursday evening that a lobbyist tested positive for COVID-19.

In a prepared statement, Ellsworth said, “We are taking a little time to evaluate and gather more information to ensure the safety of our members, our staff, and the community."

The release says it isn’t known which lawmakers will be contact traced or if there will be any positive cases among the group.

Members of the public can check the Legislature’s website to see if specific committees are still meeting remotely Friday. The Legislature is working to eliminate the typical Zoom registration deadline for public comment for committees that choose to meet, the release says.

Six lawmakers are publicly known to have tested positive for COVID-19 since the session began in January. Gov. Greg Gianforte returned to the Capitol this week after a positive test in early April.