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NM senator enters quarantine after virus exposure


In this file photo, Sen. Antoinette Sedillo Lopez, D-Albuquerque, speaks on the Senate floor. (Eddie Moore/Albuquerque Journal)

SANTA FE — Democratic Sen. Antoinette Sedillo Lopez of Albuquerque was in quarantine inside her Capitol office Thursday after the state Department of Health notified her that she’d been exposed to someone with COVID-19.

Her quarantine comes the same day the Legislature opened a special session dedicated to balancing the state budget and taking up other matters.

Sedillo Lopez herself is sponsoring a bill aimed at strengthening and standardizing the procedures for investigating police shootings or use of force resulting in death or great bodily harm.

She said she fears the quarantine will interrupt her ability to advocate for legislation she believes is vital for the state.

“It just makes it very difficult,” she said.

Sedillo Lopez, a retired law professor, said she is asking the Senate for permission to vote and participate in the session remotely from her office.

The state Department of Health, she said, called to notify her that she had come into contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, the respiratory illness.

She was directed to quarantine for 14 days but received permission to stay in her Capitol office because of the nature of her work.

The exposure, Sedillo Lopez said, didn’t come at a legislative event. She added that she had been wearing a mask in public and maintaining her distance from people even before she was notified of the exposure.

She was tested Friday and was negative for the virus.

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