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Washington Senate Majority Leader tests positive for COVID-19

UPDATED: Sun., Jan. 9, 2022

Sen. Andy Billig smiles during a ground breaking for Jubilant HollisterStier’s new 50,000-square-foot expansion in November. Billig, D-Spokane, announced Saturday that he had tested positive for COVID-19 but was experiencing no symptoms.  (Tyler Tjomsland/The Spokesman-Review)
Sen. Andy Billig smiles during a ground breaking for Jubilant HollisterStier’s new 50,000-square-foot expansion in November. Billig, D-Spokane, announced Saturday that he had tested positive for COVID-19 but was experiencing no symptoms. (Tyler Tjomsland/The Spokesman-Review)

A top lawmaker in the state tested positive for coronavirus two days ahead of the mostly virtual legislative session set to begin Monday.

State Sen. Andy Billig, D-Spokane, the state’s majority leader, wrote Saturday evening on social media he tested positive for COVID-19, saying he quarantined since being exposed to the virus on Tuesday.

In a news release from the state Senate Democrats, Billig, 53, said he was not experiencing any symptoms. He was fully vaccinated and boosted, according to the news release.

“I am grateful to have been vaccinated and boosted, which I know has prevented me from having any significant symptoms,” Billig said in the statement.

Billig said he did not expect his illness to have any effect on the upcoming legislative session, which has a remote option for lawmakers as they quarantine.

Other lawmakers have been affected by the recent wave of COVID-19 cases seen in the state.

Sen. John Lovick, D-Mill Creek, announced Friday he also tested positive and was experiencing mild symptoms. Lovick, 70, was also vaccinated and boosted, according to a news release from the Senate Democrats.

A Senate Democrats spokesperson told The Associated Press the senators’ two cases were not considered to be linked because the men were in two different parts of the state.

Sen. Doug Ericksen, R-Whatcom County, died in December after contracting the coronavirus.

Washington state House leaders voted last week to make upcoming floor sessions temporarily remote as the state deals with record new cases amid the omicron variant of COVID-19.

The state Senate did not yet announce it would go all-virtual, but senators on the floor drafted a plan to undergo regular testing or show proof of vaccination to go inside the chamber.

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