Democratic lawmaker shows up to vote at a day after positive COVID test

Democratic lawmaker shows up to vote at a day after positive COVID test

Updated: 1 month, 26 days, 18 hours, 3 minutes, 8 seconds ago

Democratic lawmaker shows up to vote at a day after positive COVID test

Lansing — A Democratic state representative came to the Capitol on Thursday to cast votes, despite testing positive test for COVID-19 the day before.

Rep. Natalie Price, D-Berkley, cast her vote from the gallery as the Michigan House held late night votes to pass an increase to the Earned Income Tax Credit, a repeal of some taxes on retirement income and a $946 million supplemental budget, the first-term lawmaker disclosed Monday.

Price acknowledged her positive coronavirus test in a Facebook post Monday evening after Bridge Michigan first reported on her attendance. She said she had tested positive Wednesday and did not attend Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's State of the State address that night.

On Thursday, Price wrote on Facebook, "I remained in my car until it was time to vote and then proceeded to vote from the gallery.

"I remained far more than six feet away from everyone and wore a mask the entire time I was in the building," the post continued. "I took all precautions I could to protect the health and safety of my colleagues while fulfilling my responsibility to represent my constituents in matters that impact all of our lives."

Price alerted House Speaker Joe Tate, D-Detroit of her positive test Wednesday, said Amber McCann, a spokeswoman for the speaker.

"Leadership made plans for her to vote in the gallery using the same technology utilized earlier in the pandemic," said McCann, referring to a technology used when members attended session from the gallery to maintain social distancing during the pandemic.

The Michigan House's website notes the chamber follows the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention isolation guidelines, which require individuals to stay home for five days after testing positive.

House Democrats have a slim 56-54 majority in the lower chamber that was put to the test Tuesday, when the chamber had to wait hours to pass a nearly empty budget bill after Rep. Joey Andrews, D-St. Joseph, was delayed because of the birth of her daughter. Republicans had refused to support the measure because they felt it was a procedural maneuver meant to balloon the budget behind closed doors.

Insider: A budget, a baby and a slim majority

Each of the bills Thursday received some Republican support, meaning the bill could have made it across the finish line without each of the Democratic lawmakers' 56 votes.

The Michigan Freedom Caucus, an offshoot of the 54-member House Republican Caucus, criticized Price's presence at the Capitol in a Friday post.

Rep. Angela Rigas, R-Caledonia, posted on social media that the decision by Price to be in the Capitol was "pretty hypocritical." When they were in the minority party, Democrats were highly critical of Republicans in 2020 for holding votes in person during the early days of the pandemic.

“The Democrats in Michigan are so desperate, foolish and disorganized that they put the lives and health of all of us at risk by allowing Rep. Price to be present for their radical, reckless spending spree votes today,” Rigas wrote on Facebook.