State capitol prepares for return of lawmakers amid pandemic

Posted at 7:57 AM, May 26, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-26 09:01:55-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Tennessee's state capitol is preparing for the return of lawmakers who stopped working inside the building during the shutdown.

State representatives and senators left the capitol building in March and will take up important and sometimes controversial issues that were put on hold to limit the spread of coronavirus.

The main issue to be brought up again is the budget, but every other bill, including rules banning abortion at certain stages, will also be formed in Cordell Hull and then the capitol itself.

To prepare for the returning lawmakers and state workers, the two buildings have numerous safety measures put in place.

Doug Kufner, who serves as the communications director for the Republican caucus, said they tried to take every precaution they could think of.

"There's a lot of different protocols throughout this building," said Kufner. "You see that sign where we're maintaining that six foot distance. You've seen water fountains blocked off. You see temperature checks as you come in the building to make sure people are not exhibiting symptoms of the virus."

He said they asked for feedback from experts from the department of health and the HCA.

"I think it's important because whoever comes in this building whether it's the public, the media, our members have a safe environment to conduct their business," said Kufner.

State troopers at the entrance will have a temperature reader to make sure people who enter don't have a fever.

Also, in committee rooms plexiglass-like barriers were added to separate the lawmakers.