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The leadership of the Missouri House of Representatives called off the body's legislative work for next week because of COVID-19.

House Speaker Rob Vescovo, R-Arnold; Speaker Pro Tem John Wiemann, R-O'Fallon; and Majority Floor Leader Dean Plocher, R-St. Louis, issued a statement Thursday night: "Due to the rising number of COVID-19 cases in the building, we are exercising an abundance of caution to protect members, staff, and visitors by canceling session next week. Our goal is to return to work the following week."

There was no information included about how many infections or whether the infections were among lawmakers or staff.

The House on Tuesday adopted new rules to allow the public to testify on bills virtually — if that opportunity is approved in advance by legislative committees, according to the Associated Press.

The House also, however, voted down a proposal to require lawmakers to follow federal and state guidance by wearing masks and practicing social distancing. Masks are optional for lawmakers.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported Thursday that the Missouri Senate Republican majority would meet today to decide whether to cancel session similar to the House.

The Senate's President Pro Tem Dave Schatz, R-Sullivan, told the News Tribune and other reporters last week at the start of the legislative session that there was not a formal testing strategy in place to monitor potential spread of coronavirus, but Schatz added, "I think there are opportunities for some of that to occur," if necessary, and he had spoken with Gov. Mike Parson's office about it.

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