Pictures show TN lawmakers without masks before colleague’s positive COVID-19 test

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — A Tennessee state lawmaker testing positive for COVID is getting a lot of attention because of how he might have contracted the virus.

Nashville Democrat Bill Beck released a statement Thursday saying in part, “I will be shocked if I am the only member who caught COVID-19 while attending a special session.”

Representative Beck is home in Nashville recovering. His statement went on to slam many of his colleagues.

During the special session, many pictures streaming on the legislative website showed Beck wearing a mask and socially distancing. Those pictures also show other lawmakers in the chamber not wearing a mask or social distancing. Something Beck took note of in his statement Thursday.

“Unfortunately, staying safe is a group effort and the General Assembly as a whole failed to follow the medical advice of wearing a mask and social distancing while in Nashville for the special session.”

House Speaker Cameron Sexton did not directly address the Representative Beck’s allegation, but he did say in a statement from a spokesman that he “encourages everyone to continue taking reasonable precautions to protect themselves and others including testing if they have been exposed, as well as using masks in public.”

Other House Republicans privately point out Representative Beck is from Nashville and could have been exposed at numerous places in a city that has the second-highest number of COVID cases in Tennessee.

Rep. Beck said he has not been back at the capitol since the end of the General Assembly’s special session on August 12. Along with Beck, at least three other lawmakers have publicly spoken about testing positive for COVID-19, but their cases were prior to the special session.

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(This story was originally published on Aug. 29, 2020)

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