The Lead

Pa. House Speaker Cutler quarantining after exposure to COVID-19

By: - April 12, 2021 5:03 pm

House Speaker Bryan Cutler, R-Lancaster

The Pennsylvania House’s top official is quarantining at home due to exposure to a confirmed case of COVID-19.

In a statement, House Speaker Bryan Cutler, R-Lancaster, did not say whether he had tested positive or where the exposure had occurred.

“Quarantine, social distancing, mask wearing and the vaccine are all important to reducing the spread of the virus, and I am following [Centers for Disease Control & Prevention] guidelines and timelines before returning to in-person work,” he said.

Cutler added that he would “continue virtual meetings and work from home.” 

The House was in session for three days last week. Cutler’s spokesperson Mike Straub said there was no carryover at the state Capitol from Cutler’s exposure.

Following the CDC’s guidance to stay isolated for 14 days after close contact with a positive case could keep Cutler out of the Capitol for three planned days of session next week. 

Lawmakers can participate in meetings and vote in committee meetings and on the floor remotely, under current House rules adopted to respond to the pandemic.

But the House needs to have the Speaker presiding to operate. The Speaker moderates the chamber’s floor debate and calls up bills and amendments for votes. 

Under House rules, Cutler could appoint a temporary speaker for up to 10 consecutive legislative days.

At least 14 state lawmakers have tested positive for COVID-19 since last May. The House has rules requiring the usage of masks for legislators and staff alike, but lawmakers can also receive an exemption for medical conditions.

Dozens of lawmakers, mainly Republicans, can be seen around the building without a mask on session days. Some have also stated their opposition to vaccinations.

The Capitol reopens Monday, and visitors must wear masks. Will House lawmakers?

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Stephen Caruso
Stephen Caruso

Stephen Caruso is a former senior reporter with Pennsylvania Capital-Star. Before working with the Capital-Star he covered Pennsylvania state government for The PLS Reporter.