Letter: Is the State House safe?

Published: 12/12/2021 10:00:43 AM
Modified: 12/12/2021 10:00:07 AM

I’ve had an unfortunate incident recently with the State House protocol, or lack thereof, for COVID exposure. There is no requirement for legislators having flu-like symptoms to stay home, get tested or, at the very least, mask, and there is no process whereby members of the public attending a session be notified of exposure. This was my experience. A member of the House showed up at an Election Law Executive Session ill without a mask. Two days later, I got a call that someone in that session had tested positive for COVID. I was lucky in that I was familiar to a few people in the room who had come to be contacted by House members and in turn, called me.

It was terrifying news, as I had already been around my debilitated brother and I too have an under functioning immune system. I was very relieved to test negative, thanks in part to wearing a mask and using sanitizer. Why is there no protocol in place? Better yet, why is there no virtual option for 2022 especially in light of the high numbers of new cases here each day? None of this is hard or a budgetary burden. Our access to democracy should be as safe and accessible as possible, yet there is a persistent lack of will. For the health and wellness of our democracy and all granite staters, I urge House and Senate leadership to restore a system of virtual access, including remote testimony for the 2022 legislative session.

Beverly Cotton



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