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COVID Cases at State Capitol Slows Down Activity

The Arkansas General Assembly had to pause its ongoing budgetary hearings, which just began in mid-October following a recent outbreak of COVID-19 cases among legislators. According to news reports, at least 7 members of the General Assembly and a handful of witness participants at recent budget hearings, including the State's budget director, tested positive for the virus. Others are having to refrain from participating in person due to quarantine restrictions or other health related concerns. The legislature had implemented additional health safety measures including physical barriers between members and masks, however, the virus appears to have still spread among participants. It's not clear next steps for hearings to resume, however there are hopes of restarting this week while offering virtual participation for those unable to attend in person.

In addition, Governor Asa Hutchinson has limited his public activities after having a close encounter with someone who's tested positive. He is conducting regular tests until he is cleared to resume public engagements.

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