On Friday, the Idaho Statehouse has voted to suspend operations until April 6 because of a Covid outbreak. Idaho House Speaker Scott Bedke, a Republican, told reporters during a news conference Friday that the Legislature adjourned out of an “abundance of caution” and to “break the cycle” of Covid-19 infections, according to CNN affiliate KBOI.
As of Friday morning, there were at least 10 cases of Covid-19 cases reported among House staff, Senate staff and House representatives. KBOI reported that at least six House lawmakers had tested positive for Covid-19. Democratic lawmakers complained that Republican colleagues were not taking pandemic precautions. “We could have met remotely or worn masks and distanced reliably but no, we go home now and stop doing the peoples business,” tweeted Democratic state Sen. David Nelson.
“But we can’t help but be disappointed in how bad things have become at the Capitol, when we could’ve prevented this from becoming a hot spot all along,” House Minority Leader Ilana Rubel and Senate Minority Leader Michelle Stennett said in a joint statement.
Rubel told KBOI that lawmakers work in close spaces and very few of them wear masks, so it “seemed inevitable that this would happen.” She said that Democrats had previously advocated for “much more robust precautions” and even postponing the session until lawmakers could get vaccinated.
People think they are demonstrating their political loyalty to the Republican Party, to Donald Trump, to an anti-authority philosophy, by not wearing a mask during the Covid pandemic. This seems more important to them than saving lives. Donald Trump got 63.8% of the vote in the Presidential election in 2020.