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Most Republican California Senators won't return to capitol due to coronavirus exposure

The California Senate canceled its session on Wednesday after a state Senator tested positive for the coronavirus.

SACRAMENTO, California — The California Senate will meet Thursday without most of its Republican members after a GOP state senator tested positive for the coronavirus.

Following the announcement that a Senator tested positive for COVID-19, California Senate President Pro Tempore Toni Atkins said cleaning of Senate facilities began immediately, along with contact tracing.

The California Senate abruptly canceled its session after a Republican lawmaker tested positive for the coronavirus. Republican state Sen. Brian Jones confirmed in a Twitter post on Wednesday that he tested positive for the virus. Jones was on the Senate floor on Monday with his colleagues. 

According to Republican Sen. John Moorlach, Jones also attended a caucus lunch on Tuesday.

"Unfortunately, the nature of the gathering that resulted in the exposures was such that virtually every member of the Republican Caucus is now unable to enter the Capitol without violating public health orders," Atkins said in a statement.

Senators were set to meet at noon Thursday. Atkins said while Republican senators would not be on the California Senate floor, senators will be able to debate and vote from home while the Senate is in session.

 "I know our Republican colleagues are disappointed not to be on the floor or in their offices today, but I also know they would never knowingly put the health and safety of others at risk," Atkins said.

The Senate had been scheduled to vote Wednesday on several police reform bills that lawmakers started following George Floyd's death in Minneapolis. Still, the work was called off so officials could inform anyone who had been exposed. 

The delay further complicates a legislative session that has already been delayed twice because of the virus. Lawmakers are rushing to pass legislation before a Monday deadline.  

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