Battling illness, Spilka monitors 2021’s last formal session from home

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BOSTON — Senate President Karen Spilka took in 2021's last day of formal sessions from her Ashland home while trying to recover from an illness she came down with earlier this week.

"She continues to be on the mend and is monitoring session remotely," Spilka spokesman Antonio Caban told the News Service in a statement early Wednesday afternoon.

Senate President Pro Tempore Will Brownsberger presided Wednesday as the Senate gaveled in to work with the House to see which bills they might be able to get to Gov. Charlie Baker's desk before a seven-week break, with formal sessions resuming in January.

Democrats were trying to determine whether they can reach a quick conference committee accord on a nearly $4 billion spending bill, or whether talks on that will spill into upcoming informal sessions.

A suite of measures aimed at making mental health care more accessible in Massachusetts — something Spilka has been promoting — earned unanimous approval from the Senate Wednesday evening. The Senate's vote sends the bill to the House, where the legislation's consideration will likely have to wait until 2022 due to the break.

Both branches of government Wednesday did pass a congressional redistricting bill. That now heads to Gov. Charlie Baker's desk.

On Sunday night, Spilka announced plans to go to Washington to attend the ceremony where President Biden signed the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill. But Spilka became ill while preparing for her trip Monday and decided to stay home. An aide to Spilka said Monday that the Senate president had tested negative for COVID-19.

Spilka also canceled her planned appearance Thursday at the Massachusetts Caregiver Coalition Summit in Boston, according to her spokesman.

This article originally appeared on MetroWest Daily News: Senate President Spilka monitors last day of formal sessions from home

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