LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — The recent outbreak of COVID in the general assembly put the pre-session budget hearing on pause last week. This week members are back but in smaller numbers and still getting the business of the state done, just in a much different environment.
The recent COVID outbreak of the general assembly has members fully aware of the virus’ capability.
“Think there’s any doubt that it’s gotten members attention when we see our colleagues testing positive”
“It’s scary it’s writing for sure but it’s the community spread is so high that it makes sense that it would happen here”
The outbreak seemed to coincide with members returning for pre-session budget hearings and took some measures to be careful to allow for more of the joint budget committee to be present.
“It’s always best to be here if it’s possible that a mistake or us and we’ve got to go to make sure that those folks that are at risk are at home and those of us who are here are safe in the settings,”
“We want people who are quarantined and are doing the right thing not be denied in there they’re and people they represent be denied to the ability to participate,”
So in order to accommodate those who wanted to listen in or even ask questions and debate online the committee made a rule change to allow for that.
Members say it’s different, but like most of us who are now zoom experts, the general assembly is getting there with the technology.
The robust discussions won’t change and there will likely be some bumping of heads, even if they do it through glass and masks.