By CBSBoston.com Staff

BOSTON (CBS) — Last week, a story by WBZ-TV’s David Wade showed that how despite the State House is open to lawmakers, its halls remain empty. Lawmakers are continuing to work remotely. So how are the reporters who cover the State House keeping up?

“It’s been a really interesting time to be covering the State House,” Katie Lannan of State House News Service told WBZ-TV’s Jon Keller.  “It is much tougher when the halls are quiet and everyone is logged in via Zoom or Teams or what have you.”

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“You can’t really have the same opportunity to ask follow-up questions and that includes of the people in power. They have in-person leadership availabilities where reporters can ask questions but aside from that when you’re working virtually and people have to decide to answer your calls it’s much harder to get your questions in,” Lannan continued.

Matt Murphy of State House News Service pointed out that lawmakers from western and central Mass. likely enjoy the ability to stay in their district and telecommute to the State House. “That’s also weighing on the decision of, or the lack of urgency to reopen, and return to the way we used to do business,” he said.

Switching gears to the state budget, Murphy said both the House and Senate have passed roughly $3.8 billion plans. “A lot of similarities here, the big headlines being $500 million to support unemployment insurance for businesses to reduce their payments over time and a $500 million plan to give bonus premium pay to essential workers who have to remain on the job during the pandemic,” he explained.

Part Two: 

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Wu was endorsed by several lawmakers on Beacon Hill, Lannan pointed out, but that “doesn’t mean that every home rule petition that she brings forward or the Boston City Council brings forward is going to get to the governor’s desk.”

“She going’s to see her agenda run into the competing priorities on Beacon Hill,” said Lannan.

No political conversation in Massachusetts would be complete without speculating whether Gov. Charlie Baker will run for re-election. And if he does, will he run as a Republican?

“I think he will run as a Republican,” Murphy said. “But there’s no doubt he has a serious problem with the Republican party and with Republicans in Massachusetts right now.”

Murphy isn’t sure if Baker will run, though.

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“The question is as he’s looking at a Democratic field taking shape, a Republican challenger from the right, does he have that fight in him? Does he want to fight his own party? Can he motivate the independents — in a wide-open race on the Democratic side — the independents who were key to electing him to two terms, can he get them to vote in a Republican primary?” Murphy said.

CBSBoston.com Staff