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The New Jersey State Senate chamber in Trenton, NJ

Senate will hold committee meetings virtually after Thanksgiving

Rising COVID-19 cases push lawmakers out of the statehouse annex

By Nikita Biryukov, November 18 2020 6:45 pm

Update: Both chambers will hold voting sessions remotely on Monday.

The New Jersey State Senate will cease holding in-person committee meetings after Thanksgiving, the New Jersey Globe has learned.

A Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee hearing slated for tomorrow will still meet in person, a source close to the chamber’s Democratic leadership told the New Jersey Globe. But after that, committee hearings will again be held remotely.

The move was spurred by the state’s sustained increase in new cases of COVID-19 and the increased risk of transmission to the chamber’s often elderly membership.

The Assembly has held its committee hearings virtually since May. The Senate briefly went digital but resumed in-person meetings in mid-July.

Leaders in both chambers decided to hold voting sessions slated for Monday remotely. It’s not clear whether legislative leaders have plans to move future sessions to a virtual setting.

State law was changed in March to allow virtual voting sessions. While both chambers held remote sessions early in the pandemic, they long since resumed meeting in person.

Members in the lower chamber are seated on the floor or the Assembly gallery. Senators are kept to the floor in their chamber.

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