Lawmakers meet for session with gloves and masks during COVID-19 outbreak

Lawmakers concerned for state’s economy

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - The Senate and House chambers were quieter than usual Tuesday afternoon during session with only some state lawmakers filling the seats.

Several lawmakers wore gloves and masks and did not hesitate to wipe down their desks and microphones with Clorox wipes and hand sanitizer.

The House and Senate met briefly Tuesday to push back session until April 28 amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Just last year state lawmakers were praising one of the largest education budgets in the state’s history. But that could take a turn after the COVID-19 pandemic has led to business closures and thousands filing unemployment claims.

“We are aware there are people struggling," said Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh, R-Anniston.

Marsh said to expect bare-boned budgets because of the virus.

“With the uncertainty in the economy at this point, we can’t justify any kind of pay raises, any changes of commitments of revenues, until we see what’s happening with this economy,” he said.

Marsh said the Senate would consider extending the time for people to have unemployment benefits.

“We’ve got to make sure we do all we can to help those businesses and people as well, who may just have suddenly become unemployed as of challenging times," Marsh said.

Lawmakers also hope to pass legislation to boost the economy.

“So I hope that we will bring something to give to incentivize small businesses so that when they come back, they’ll be able to offer more insurance to their people and other benefits," Singleton said.

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