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Rep. Kelly proposes virtual House committees, sessions as coronavirus surges

Follows reports of multiple House members testing positive for virus in recent days
December 8, 2020
Democratic Newsroom

Rep. Brigid Kelly (D-Cincinnati) today sent a co-sponsor request memo to House lawmakers urging them to sign onto her proposal to allow House committees and/or session to be conducted virtually amid worsening conditions of the coronavirus pandemic in Ohio and across the country.

“Instead of forcing people to come from all corners of the state during a time of public health crisis, we should make it safer, and easier, for legislators and Ohioans to continue to do the important work with which we are tasked,” wrote Rep. Kelly.

Kelly’s proposal comes as three House lawmakers have tested positive for coronavirus since Friday.

House Republicans have rejected multiple Democratic efforts to require facemasks at the Statehouse, the most recent attempt last Thursday being rejected along party lines.

Earlier this year, state lawmakers passed House Bill 197, which included provisions allowing public bodies to meet remotely. Rep. Kelly’s proposal would extend that same option to the Ohio House.

At least 25 states, the District of Columbia, Guam and the Virgin Islands have changed their procedures to allow for remote participation or voting since the onset of the pandemic in March.