Sunday, March 7, 2021
Rep. Muffy Davis Says She Still Feels Unsafe as Legislature Announces a Case of COVID
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Muffy Davis campaigns for her seat in the Idaho House with her daughter and husband.
   
Wednesday, January 20, 2021
 

STORY AND PHOTO BY KAREN BOSSICK

Lawmakers in the Idaho Senate were told to monitor their health Tuesday after a Senate attache tested positive for COVID-19. The Senate will continue to operate.

The staffer was said to have caught COVID from a family member. But the staffer was not identified immediately and no contact tracing had commenced by Tuesday afternoon.

The news came a day after House Speaker Scott Bedke issued a press release announcing that he had made accommodations for Ketchum Rep. Muffy Davis and Boise Rep. Sue Chew, who said that pre-existing conditions make them more susceptible to the virus.

Davis has compromised lung function after being paralyzed in a ski accident, and she sists in a wheelchair where, she says, the droplets of those speaking above her can fall on her. Chew has diabetes and hypertension.

But Davis said she has no idea what the press release was referring to, as she has not been contacted nor has her lawyer.

“I’m guessing that he is referring to the offices that he mentioned on Jan 8th, which could work, but they are in a very busy area where the public passes into the gallery, where the mob was in August. Therefore, we had responded with some safety caveats, which we never heard back about,” she said.

“If they are willing to do the safety measures we requested, that would be great, but it still does not address the requirement to be on the floor and in committee rooms to participate, debate and vote.”

Davis said she has heard that a bill may be introduced in committee to allow for participation from a remote place in the House gallery. But, even if that happens, it would not address committee meetings, which are in much smaller rooms with less ventilation.

“We are often in those rooms for two-plus hours hearing testimony or debating bills,” she added.

Davis and Chew filed a lawsuit asking for precautions to be instituted that would make the Statehouse safe for them and others with chronic health conditions after multiple letters and texts for consideration over a six-month period went unanswered.

Several nonprofit organizations that advocate for those with disabilities filed a second lawsuit saying the Statehouse is unsafe for their clients who may wish to attend or testify at hearings.

Idaho lawmakers have refused to follow recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Idaho Gov. Brad Little, such as wearing masks and social distancing, the lawsuits contend. And leadership has refused to offer remote testimony, even though other legislatures do so.

Bedke (R-Oakley) falsely accused Davis and Chew of using the situation as a fundraising opportunity.

Meanwhile, the Senate State Affairs Committee voted 7-2 Tuesday to send legislation seeking to end Little’s coronavirus emergency declaration and restrictions put into place last spring when the virus was running amok across the state.

The state could lose $20 million in federal aid if it does end the emergency declaration.


 

 

 

 

 


 

 

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