The Minnesota House of Representatives isn't returning to normal just yet.
In a memo to House members and staff Thursday, House Speaker Melissa Hortman, DFL-Brooklyn Park, said the House would continue remote and hybrid operations at least through the end of the 2022 regular session, which begins on Jan. 31, 2020.
The mask mandate is also in effect on the House floor, in shared spaces of the State Office Building, and spaces under House control in the State Capitol. The rule is in place for everyone, regardless of vaccination status.
"This decision was not made lightly, but with full consideration for the health and safety of members, staff, and the public, as well as the need to minimize disruptions to legislative business while ensuring the public’s ability to participate in the legislative process," Hortman said.
Committee meetings will be conducted remotely with "limited exceptions for hybrid meetings in Capitol room 120." House Floor sessions will be hybrid, with members encouraged to attend in person whenever possible.
Meanwhile, the State Office Building will remain closed to the public, with Hortman citing safety concerns at the building if there isn't a consistent staff presence due to people working remotely.
Hortman says the policy may change as health and safety conditions evolve. Any representative or staff member is asked to contact their doctor and inform human resources if they experience COVID-19 symptoms or think they may have been exposed to the virus.
The decision to do another hybrid session next year was made in consultation with human resources, House Research, the Chief Clerk's office and other nonpartisan departments, Hortman said.
It doesn't appear the Republican-controlled Senate has said what its plans are for the 2022 legislative session. Last year, the Senate allowed only members who were in person to speak on bills and those not present could relay their votes through Senate leadership.