State Senator Scott Delano (R) says lawmakers are working hard to ensure COVID-19 safety protocols moving into the 2021 Legislative Session.
“That’s going to take a little bit of time to get use to,” said DeLano. “I expect that there will be guidance from leadership that will want us to get busy and working as quickly as we can on our general bills and making sure they get filed but they’re probably going to want us to do that from our offices.”
The Coast Senator said most members will likely be working from their offices and social distancing on the Senate floor, adding that it is a productive measure for membership to take as numbers continue to stay high across the state.
While the Legislature is given roughly 90 days to complete its work this year, DeLano said he believes all members will be working diligently to get in and out as fast as possible with looming safety concerns.
When it comes to priorities, he said those will be determined by understanding what the state’s immediate needs are in the new COVID-19 environment. He said balancing the everyday fiscal needs of the state will also be a high priority.
The state budget hit a $240 million deficit during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. While there were dollars put away in the Rainy Day Fund it still caused a shift for all agencies in the budget set by the Legislature. DeLano said those decisions could come from a blend of guidance from the Department of Treasury with respect to CARES Act money or any others that come down for COVID-19 relief.
DeLano serves as the Chairman of the Technology committee and said there will be a few bills that come through important to local communities.
“I know one that is going to be really important to a lot of our local jurisdictions, is the way for us to take the next steps with emergency communications at our local level, at the county level,” said DeLano.
Within that bill he said those systems will take place through 911 and they will be upgraded to try and provide for local municipalities and counties to implement a Next Generation or NG911 which uses more technology than just telephones. He said this upgrade could be transformational for law enforcement.
By the morning of the 2021 session’s opening day, over 60 bills had already been dropped by members.