House Speaker-designate won’t require COVID-19 testing for members during Organizational Session
Image via Tori Lynn Schneider, Tallahassee Democrat.

sprowls, chris
Sprowls says: “Members are constitutional officers who have a right to be in the chamber.”

Florida legislative leaders are taking different approaches to the return of lawmakers, lobbyists and visitors to the state Capitol for next week’s one-day organization session.

Incoming Senate President Wilton Simpson is requiring all senators to take a COVID-19 test prior to entering the Senate chambers on Nov. 17. But House Speaker-designate Chris Sprowls is not asking for the tests.

“Members are constitutional officers who have a right to be in the chamber,” Sprowls’ spokeswoman Jenna Sarkissian said in an email Tuesday, when asked about a testing requirement. “The expectation is that our members take advantage of all of the precautions being offered to them.”

The precautions include access to on-site testing Nov. 15 and Nov. 16, as well as access to face masks and face shields. Since desks won’t be rearranged inside the House chamber, members who seek greater social distancing or have underlying medical conditions can request special seating accommodations, according to a guide issued by House leaders last week.

In contrast, Simpson made clear in a Nov. 4 memo that no one will be allowed inside the Senate chambers unless they first test negative for COVID-19. The testing requirement applies to senators, as well as certain staff and guests who will be authorized to be in the Senate chamber during the organization session. Simpson is no stranger to contagions and toxins.

The GOP leader is majority owner of Simpson Environmental Services, a company that specializes in demolition, mold remediation and  asbestos and lead paint removal. In developing the Senate protocol, Simpson relied on recommendations from Tampa General Hospital.

The hospital has signed a two-year contract with the Senate to provide a coronavirus prevention-response plan. Next week’s Organization Session includes swearing in new members and the official selection of Sprowls and Simpson as leaders of the House and Senate.

— Material from the News Service of Florida was used in this post.

Staff Reports

One comment

  • Sonja Fitch

    November 11, 2020 at 9:00 am

    Sprowls has already said and will prove that he supports the slaughter of Floridians by and thru herd immunity! So he must be a RINO that is beholding to the goptrump death cult! May god have mercy on your soul! Facts and truth!

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