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Committee recommends mask mandate for lawmakers in 2021 legislative session

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As lawmakers gear up for what’s set to be a unique legislative session because of the pandemic, Wednesday, the legislative procedure and arrangements committee moved forward with some changes meant to prevent the spread of COVID-19 at the Capitol.

The group voted 8 to 2 to require lawmakers to wear face masks and get tested for the virus twice weekly during the session. The vote is a recommendation that would still have to be adopted by the House and Senate Rules committees before taking effect.

At the meeting, Rep. Lawrence Klemin made an emotional plea for more safety measures, following his own mother’s battle with the virus.

“I sat by her bed and held her hand, for four days, and watched her die,” Klemin said. “I don’t want it to happen to anyone in the legislature or to their family members, so I think we have to do whatever we can to make sure that we are protecting ourselves and getting our work done, too.”

The recommendation would also require members of the public to wear masks in the Capitol’s public areas.

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