The President Pro Tempore of the Florida Senate was a medical absence Tuesday after testing positive for COVID-19.
Sen. Aaron Bean tested positive Tuesday morning before entering the Capitol for the Senate session and Gov. Ron DeSantis‘ State of the State speech, Senate spokesperson Katie Betta told Florida Politics.
Bean, a Republican from Fernandina Beach, had tested negative Monday when he had meetings at the Capitol, Betta said. At all times, he was masked, she added.
Bean’s wife also tested positive Tuesday morning. Both are doing well.
Today is the start of the 2021 Legislative Session. We’ve had a difficult year as Floridians and there is plenty of work ahead of us. I pledge to continue my commitment to strengthen and invest in our great state. I look forward to making each and every day count. #OpeningDay pic.twitter.com/hrmoShF5cn
— Aaron Bean (@AaronPBean) March 2, 2021
The sidelining of one of the most powerful Senate Republicans shows that, in terms of the coronavirus pandemic that cast a shadow over the end of the last Legislative Session and the harrowing months of uncertainty afterward, COVID-19 will continue to plague the legislative process in 2021.
This is roughly a year after the House chamber was disinfected in a bout of concern over potentially exposed lawmakers coming back from conferences. Yet, in terms of COVID-19, the Capitol’s power brokers are all day-to-day.
The Capitol complex continues to remain largely closed to the public and the Senate is requiring lobbyists and members of the public to testify remotely from the nearby Donald L. Tucker Civic Center.