Out gay state legislator rips Penn. GOP over hiding positive COVID-19 tests

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A screen capture of Brian Sims Facebook live video on the late notification of exposure to coronavirus.

HARRISBURG, Pa. — Pennsylvania State Rep. Brian Sims (D-Philadelphia) went off on state Republican leadership over hiding the fact that a GOP state legislature had tested positive for coronavirus and continued to come the chamber.

Sims, who is also the state’s first out gay legislator, evidently recorded the video that was posted on Facebook just minutes after being informed about exposure to the virus that causes COVID-19. He was visibly angry in the video, dropping quite a few f-bombs.

He called out the hypocrisy of the GOP leadership for pushing to reopen the state while actively hiding the fact that GOP members had quarantined themselves from families because of their own positive tests. Sims said the only reason Democrats found out was because a reporter had found out and asked them about it. The Democratic leadership confirmed with GOP leadership and told their membership. At which point Dem legislators had to call their families to tell them about possible exposure and that they would not be coming home for a while.

Sims said in the video that GOP leadership had known for at least a week that members had tested positive and that very few Republican members wore masks or maintained social distancing.

“They were notifying one another, and they didn’t notify us,” an outraged Sims said in the video.

The Republican who has been pushing most to reopen the state, Russ Diamond, is one of those who tested positive for coronavirus. He didn’t wear a mask in chambers.

Sims called for Mike Turzai, the Republican Speaker of the House, to resign and be investigated with charges filed, along with any member of leadership who knew about the positive diagnoses.

“Holy shit. Holy shit! Exposing all of us up here to this crap while covering up what was going on while simultaneously telling people, telling families it was safe,” he said. “That it was safe to be outside, safe to be interacting with people, while you were testing positive!”

He stated that he wants an Attorney General investigation of GOP leadership, of the contact tracing reportedly done, as well as an investigation by the state Secretary of Health and cleaning of the statehouse. He also called for the GOP to pay for testing for everyone who works in the statehouse.

“It’s not your business to put my life at risk,” Sims said. “It’s not your business to put the children of our members, of the spouses of our members at risk.”

Sims also spoke on the floor in a more controlled but still angry speech.

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