A day after a nine-member committee of state lawmakers was advised to quarantine because of a COVID-19 exposure, two of the state senators were back at work Wednesday.
State Sen. Tony Vargas of Omaha said he had “no other option” than to attend a socially distanced meeting of the Legislature’s Executive Board so he could participate in a key vote concerning redistricting.
“I felt a responsibility as a legislator and Exec Board member to be there,” said Vargas, who was wearing two layers of facemasks. “I was given no other viable choice.”
Bayard Sen. Steve Erdman said he was advised by Lincoln-Lancaster County health officials that he didn’t need to quarantine if he had the coronavirus within the past three months and had recovered. That is also the advice of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“I haven’t told five people in the world that I have COVID. I didn’t figure it was anyone’s business,” Erdman said.
Vargas and Erdman are members of the Appropriations Committee, which was advised to go into quarantine Tuesday afternoon after it was learned that they’d come in contact with someone who had tested positive. Members of that committee, which draws up the state budget, met in a Zoom call Wednesday to continue their review of budget proposals of state agencies. It’s hoped they can return to the Capitol next week.