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Mason City legislator in quarantine, frustrated about House rules on participating virtually in committees

DES MOINES — A Mason City legislator is currently in quarantine after possibly being exposed to COVID-19 while at the statehouse.

Democratic Representative Sharon Steckman talked about the situation during a virtual town hall meeting last night.   “I’m really frustrated right now. I’m on this call from my apartment. I’ve been in quarantine because I was in contact with two people. First one I went in quarantine, and then another one, and so I had to continue my quarantine. I tested negative, and I’m hoping on Friday I’ll test negative too.”

Steckman is frustrated that the rules in the House and Senate are different on participating in subcommittee and committee meetings.  “In the House, I can use…it’s like Zoom, it’s called WebX….I can go to subcommittee meetings, I can go to committee meetings so I can watch everything happening, but I can’t speak and I can’t vote. In the Senate, it’s different. So I’m really frustrated because I asked to be on the Information Technology committee, a new committee in the House, and how backward is it that we’re not using the technology. It just doesn’t make any sense.”

Earlier this week it was announced a sixth person working at the statehouse tested positive for coronavirus on Monday. The identity of positive cases is not routinely released by legislative branch officials, and Republican leaders have not required lawmakers to reveal a positive virus test so it’s not known if there have been any undeclared cases. 

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