Sunday, March 7, 2021
Gov. Brad Little Blasts Legislators’ Efforts to End COVID Emergency Declaration
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Oh for the good ol’ days when Gov. Brad Little just had to worry about flipping pancakes for the Papoose Club’s Wagon Days Pancake Breakfast.
   
Saturday, January 23, 2021
 

BY KAREN BOSSICK

Idaho’s vaccine rollout could be jeopardized if Idaho legislators succeed in rescinding Idaho’s COVID-19 emergency declaration, Idaho Gov. Brad Little said Friday.

“We are in the final lap of the pandemic fight and the finish line is close. We are so close to returning to normal,” he said. “But all that success is threatened by the actions taking place in the Legislature right now.”

Several legislators have called to end the declaration calling for Little to “open” the state, even though the state could lose $20 million in federal aid if it does. But Little noted that Idaho has largely remained open through the pandemic with restaurants operating with indoor service and retail establishments open.

In fact, he added, the state has been kept open longer than almost every other state.

Little said he believes more Idahoans will get sick and die if the legislature ends the current state of emergency which, he said, is one of the state’s strongest tools to end the pandemic and get back to normal.

“Let me be clear, undeniable, COVID-19 is an emergency. Hundreds of Idahoans have died and many more have been horribly sick,” he said. “The COVID-19 emergency declaration was requested by Idaho communities and is critical for Idaho to receive federal assistance.”

Little said every state has emergency declarations in place to respond to COVID-19. President Trump, in fact, issued two emergency declarations that remain in effect.

The state has initiated emergency declarations whenever there is a devastating wildlife or during a catastrophe like the Teton Dam disaster in 1976 to access critical federal resources to help address the impacts of the crisis. And COVID is no different, he said.

Little said that it is a myth that the emergency declaration somehow shuts down Idaho or takes away people’s rights.

If the declaration were rescinded, it would mean less vaccine, he said. It would mean cities and counties will have to find the funds to pay for the equipment and support they need to battle COVID-19. It means hospitals could lose access to critical supplies.

It means the state would lose the funding to utilize the Idaho National Guard to support testing, vaccine distribution, food banks and medical facilities. It would mean we cannot cut red tape and break down regulatory hurdles that stand in the way of better health care access, he said.

“It means your federal taxpayer dollars would go to California, New York, and other states,” he added. “It means this terrible pandemic and the disruption to our lives will be extended, not ended.”

Little said those who were seeking to end the declaration are playing politics for their own personal gain.

“Pretending there is no COVID-19 emergency – as some in the Idaho Legislature are doing right now – will have devastating impacts on lives, our healthcare heroes who are protecting families, and our economy,” he said. “I urge my partners in the Legislature to stop the political games and do what is right for the people of Idaho.”

 

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