(Indianapolis, IN) - State legislators began the new General Assembly session this week down in Indianapolis. While both parties have announced their agendas and started proposing legislation, it’s been a snail’s pace while lawmakers adapt to social distancing.
State Representative Jim Pressel says lawmakers are grappling with social distancing. "We started session on Monday. Things are moving slow," Pressel says. "We are being extremely cautious at the Statehouse. Committees are very well separated. Session came down from three days a week to one day, as we try to figure out how to keep everybody safe."
For now, House members are only meeting once a week, on Thursday mornings. Many in-person activities, like some committee hearings, will be done remotely. The 50-member Senate has been able to spread out in their regular chambers after making some alterations. The 100-member House is doing business in a conference room in the office building adjacent to the Statehouse.
Despite the social distancing precautions, lawmakers are eschewing other standards that most Hoosiers deal with every day. According to reports in the Indy Star (link here), state lawmakers are still not required to wear masks or get tested for COVID-19. And if they get coronavirus, they are not required to tell their fellow lawmakers or the media. Various reports indicate most legislators wore masks during this week’s sessions, but some did not.
The current Indiana legislative session runs through April.