State Houses Opening or Closing Due to Omicron?

By FOCUS, A Leonine Business

As we enter 2022, we should see some of the 46 states who are meeting this year opening up for their legislative sessions. At least, they should be. With the omicron variant surging, we have begun to see schools closing or deciding to delay returns following the holiday breaks, some workplaces returning to work from home, mask mandates returning to some cities and some statehouses showing signs that delays, remote work or closings may be imminent.

Connecticut has faced a COVID outbreak that has taken out half of the Capital police force and has forced the closure of the capital complex to the public until the end of January and is forcing legislators to work from home two days a week to minimize exposure, according to Illinois was forced to push their session date opening back a week, and left open the possibility that January 11-13 could be canceled as well, according to the State Journal-Register. Further days may be canceled, but we also may see other states become more flexible with their schedules to avoid outbreaks. The Vermont General Assembly convened for the 2022 legislative session on January 4 but the surging omicron variant caused legislators to approve a two-week remote start to the year. The hope is that after those two weeks cases may begin to slow and lawmakers may feel more comfortable returning to the statehouse. You can reach out to us about the TAG lobbying network for more on-the-ground information.

For those statehouses who are continuing despite the increase in omicron COVID-19 cases, states are hotly debating what restrictions should remain, whether vaccine mandates should be enacted for private or public businesses, or for things like dining indoors. But those priorities now fight with the usual concerns like budgets and data privacy. We know what we don’t know, and we don’t yet know exactly what the spring of 2022 will hold.