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Texas House Rep. Joe Deshotel Tests Positive For COVID-19 And Four Other Legislators Are Quarantining

Texas State House of Representatives
Gabriel Cristóver Pérez
Texas State House of Representatives

Rep. Michelle Beckley from Carrollton, who didn't attend the first day of the legislative session, is one of the lawmakers in self-isolation.

State House Representative Joe Deshotel, of Beaumont has tested positive for COVID-19 and at least four legislators are quarantining due to exposure.

After Deshotel announced his positive result Thursday, Carrollton's Michelle Beckley, Representative Erin Zwiener from the Hill Country, Vikki Goodwin, who represents part of Travis County, and Alma Allen from Houston — all Democrats — said they will self-quarantine for 10 days. . They sat near Deshotel in the House chamber.

Beckley stayed away on Tuesday’s first day of the legislative session, fearing it could become a "super spreader" event.

"I wish I was sitting here and telling you I had overreacted but I clearly did not overreact," Beckley said.

Beckley worked the House floor Wednesday and Thursday.

She wants the CDC’s 6-foot rule enforced in the House, not the 3 feet of space she saw between lawmakers — especially now that the more easily spread strain of COVID-19 is in Texas.

"The rules for the House are not adequate," she said. "Many of us were under the impression that everybody had to be tested on Tuesday. And we came to find out that it was only the guests who were tested on Tuesday. Everything’s at the discretion of the members."

Clearly, says Beckley, that’s not good enough.

Got a tip? Email Reporter Bill Zeeble at You can follow him on Twitter @bzeeble.

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Bill Zeeble has been a full-time reporter at KERA since 1992, covering everything from medicine to the Mavericks and education to environmental issues.