Gov. Little: Idaho legislature’s attempts to end COVID emergency declaration a ‘shameful game’

BOISE, Idaho — Governor Brad Little had strong words for the Idaho legislature regarding attempts to end the state’s COVID-19 emergency declaration.

Some legislators, including Blanchard Representative Heather Scott, have made attempts to end the declaration, calling for Little to “open” the state. But the governor said their claims that the declaration somehow shuts down Idaho is “patently false.”

Idaho has largely remained open throughout the pandemic. Restaurants are still operating with indoor services, masks are not mandatory statewide and Little boasted the state’s strong economy because they have been open longer than most states.

“Undeniably, COVID-19 is an emergency,” Little acknowledged, noting that hundreds of Idahoans have died from the virus, thousands have become sick and many are still at risk.

“Some in the legislature are perpetuating that myth [that Idaho is closed] and trying to stop Idaho’s COVID legislation,” he said, adding that it will mean fewer vaccines and more taxes for Idahoans.

Little said the vaccine rollout plan is jeopardized by these legislatators’ “unacceptable” actions.

“Cities and counties will have to find funds from you to get equipment they need to fight COVID-19,” he said, noting that Idahoans’ federal tax dollars could go to other states as a result of the legislature’s proposals.

Little called their actions a “shameful game” in which Idahoans will be the losers.

“What the Idaho legislature is doing is wrong,” Little said. “Stop political gains and do what’s right for the people of Idaho.”

Shortly after Little’s address, the Idaho House Republican Caucus released the following statement:

“Members of the House Republican Caucus will continue to work to address the concerns of the Idaho families whom they represent. The inflammatory comments from the Governor’s office do nothing but complicate the process. The life-altering concerns revolving around the COVID-19 emergerncy continue to be in the front of our minds. Our members are working on various forms of legislation to help the state on its road to the recovery that Idahoans have been demanding for months and we call on the Governor to work with us in this process.”

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