The Montana Legislature has not met since last Thursday due to an individual who is not a legislator being named a close contact.

Communications Director for the Senate Republicans Kyle Schmauch provided details.

“What was different about this recent case was that we found out about it so late in the evening on Thursday, and it was a lobbyist, too,” said Schmauch. “So, a private citizen who tested positive was considered a close contact of a few legislators, and maybe others, as well.”

Schmauch explained why the session missed two days.

“The contact tracer that the legislature hired for the session needed some more time to get her work done and so out of an abundance of caution, we did not gavel in floor session on Friday, and we chose not to do that again today to give the contact tracer time to do her work,” he said.

Schmauch said none of the legislators has tested positive from this close contact exposure.

“As of right now, there are less than a dozen legislators that have been listed as close contacts, and no legislators have tested positive or shown any symptoms related to this case,” he said. “Because of that, we're planning on going back to business as usual tomorrow (Tuesday).”

Schmauch said the two days missed, Friday and Monday, will not count against the 90 day session schedule, so work will continue to attempt to complete the session before the full 90 day limit.

“We're really getting close to the end here,” he said. “I mean, we're down to the last couple of weeks, and that would put the legislature finishing somewhere from seven to 12 days early. The legislature has 90 legislative days to get its work done. All session long the legislative leadership has been focused on not using all of those 90 days, and for the time being, we are still on track to wrap up well short of the 90 day mark.”

Schmauch said leaders wanted to finish a few days before the 90 day limit so that if any need arose for some last minute business, it could be completed within the 90 day schedule.

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