Idaho House votes to end COVID-19 emergency declaration

BOISE, Idaho — The Idaho House of Representatives on Tuesday voted to end Governor Brad Little’s COVID-19 emergency declaration.

House Concurrent Resolution 1 seeks to lift restrictions in place as a result of the pandemic, like those included in the Idaho Rebounds plan. Currently, the majority of the state is in Stage 4 of the plan, which allows for most businesses to be fully open. Idahoans can gather in groups of 50 or more and people can resume non-essential travel. There are some restrictions on nightclubs and large venues.

The resolution cites the state’s dropping positivity rate, strain on the economy and the “extensive collateral harm to the physical and mental health” of Idahoans as reasons to end the emergency declaration.

However, if passed, the resolution would restrict Idaho from being able to receive some federal aid money, like FEMA funds. Idaho House and Senate Democrats say those funds are currently being used to purchase multiple forms of personal protective gear.

“FEMA funds are a lifeline to our state, providing the equipment we need to reopen schools where it is safe, get business back up and running, and protect healthcare workers. The vote on the House Floor showed a complete disregard for the safety of Idahoans and was fiscally irresponsible,” said Representative Lauren Necochea (D-Boise). “We are facing a dire economic and budget outlook. At this moment we should be leveraging every resource available to help Idahoans, not playing political games.”

The resolution now moves to the Idaho Senate.

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