Members of California Legislature Exposed to COVID at Party for Lorena Gonzalez

Written by Vincent Cain

About three dozen lawmakers were unable to attend the floor sessions yesterday morning after many of them, including the Assembly Speaker, Anthony Rendon, have been potentially exposed to COVID-19 at a farewell party for former Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez.

While the representatives would not confirm how they were contacted and asked to stay home on Thursday due to exposure. Sen. Josh Becker, a Menlo Park Democrat who attended the event on Tuesday and then tested positive for COVID-19 the next morning, said that there were about a dozen lawmakers that were at a hotel in downtown Sacramento where many of them stay while they’re in town. This hotel is where the farewell event took place for the former Assemblymember.

“Certainly there were some people that had to quarantine because they were exposed to me,” Becker mentioned.

Gonzalez said in a tweet that she was not only fully vaccinated and has tested negative since, but she also wore an N95 mask when she wasn’t eating or drinking.

The exposure of the lawmakers complicates things for the new legislative session, which has a deadline at the end of this month to act on any bills which haven’t moved out of their house of origin last year.

The number of absences has been incredibly high for the start of the year due to the omicron variant increasing the number of cases in California. The assembly reported 27 absences of 80 members yesterday, although a representative said that more than half of them were requested earlier in the week and were not related to the Tuesday night event.

A spokesperson for Rendon, Katie Talbot, stated in an email that guidelines from the California Department of Health “do not require isolation for vaccinated and boosted individuals following potential exposure.” However, “out of an abundance of caution, the Speaker asked Members who attended Tuesday’s event to stay home from session today.”

Photo Cred: AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli