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Michigan Senate, House sessions canceled this week after lawmaker tests positive

Craig Mauger
The Detroit News

Lansing — The Michigan Senate and House will not meet this week, as the Senate's Republican leader is encouraging his caucus members to get tested for COVID-19 after one of their colleagues tested positive.

On Sunday, Sen. Tom Barrett, R-Charlotte, announced that he was confirmed to have the virus after a routine screening as part of his service in the Michigan Army National Guard. Barrett said he didn't have any significant symptoms.

Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey, R-Clarklake, right, and House Speaker Lee Chatfield, R-Levering, left, speak at a press conference in January 2020. On Monday, Aug. 3, 2020, the two legislative leaders announced the House and Senate won't meet this week after Sen. Tom Barrett, R-Charlotte, tested positive for COVID-19.

Barrett's test took place on Friday. He found out his results on Sunday afternoon.

Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey, R-Clarklake, announced Monday morning that committee meetings scheduled for this week and session scheduled for Thursday had been canceled.

"In light of one of our colleagues recently testing positive for COVID-19, I encourage all caucus members to be tested," Shirkey said. "The Senate will cancel committees and session for this week, August 3-7, to allow adequate time for execution of protocols and receipt of results for individuals who choose to be tested. 

"We all wish Senator Barrett a speedy recovery."

The Michigan House also announced Monday that it won't hold votes this week and committee hearings won't happen.

"The House Business Office remains available to all members and staff to explain local testing options that are available," House Speaker Lee Chatfield, R-Levering, said in a Monday statement.

"The House has taken aggressive and comprehensive action to protect members and staff from COVID-19, including flexible remote work options, making testing available, changing technology and voting procedures to encourage social distancing, and expanding cleaning at the Capitol and the House Office Building," Chatfield continued. "Our new procedures will remain in place to continue to protect representatives and staff."

Senate Minority Leader Jim Ananich, D-Flint, the highest ranking Democrat in the chamber, said he's also recommending that Democratic members and staff who have potentially been in contact with Barrett get tested.

cmauger@detroitnews.com