Washington Senate Majority Leader tests positive for COVID-19

<p><p>A top lawmaker in the state tested positive for coronavirus two days ahead of the mostly virtual legislative session set to begin Monday. </p></p><p><p>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. </p></p><p><p>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. </p></p><p><p>“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.</p></p><p><p>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. </p></p><p><p>Other lawmakers have been affected by the recent wave of COVID-19 cases seen in the state.</p></p><p><p>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. </p></p><p><p>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. </p></p><p><p>Sen. Doug Ericksen, R-Whatcom County, <a href=”https://www.spokesman.com/stories/2021/dec/18/washington-state-sen-doug-ericksen-dies-after-batt/” target=”_blank”>died in December after contracting the coronavirus</a>. </p></p><p><p>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. </p></p><p><p>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. </p></p>