Two state representatives from North Texas will not attend the legislature's first day Tuesday, citing concerns it could become a COVID-19 "superspreader event."
Instead of attending the first day of the 87th Texas Legislature, Rep. Michelle Beckley (D-Carrollton) and Rep. Ana-Maria Ramos (D-Richardson) will swear each other in at an alternate location -- something they are allowed to do as legislators.
"I believe it is irresponsible to have all the members and guests in the House chamber for an extended period of time," Beckley said in a statement. "Especially as no new allowances have been made to address the fact that the more contagious variant of COVID-19 has been found in Texas."
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Beckley's statement cited colleagues and staff members who recently tested positive for COVID-19 as a concern, but did not identify anyone specifically.
People who enter the Capitol Tuesday will be required to test negative for COVID-19 upon arrival, the Texas Department of Public Safety said Monday.
The tests will be administered at the building's north entrance by the Texas Division of Emergency Management with results expected within 15 minutes, Texas DPS said.
Members will vote on state House rules this week.
"Rep. Ramos and I will not participate in any unnecessary event that could lead to our staff and us being infected and our health care heroes being put under further strain," Beckley said.