State Watch

Idaho legislature shuts down after six House members test positive for coronavirus


The Idaho legislature voted Friday to close down until early April after a coronavirus outbreak among six members of the state House.

The recess, which will last until April 6, comes after five Republicans and a Democrat in the lower chamber tested positive for the virus. Several GOP lawmakers in both chambers have declined to wear masks during in-person sessions, according to The Associated Press

The recess will postpone debates on significant issues, including setting the state budget. 

“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,” Democratic House Minority Leader Ilana Rubel and Democratic Senate Minority Leader Michelle Stennett said in a joint statement.

“We are just so sorry it took so many people getting sick for us to act. We must do better when we return, or else we’ll keep finding ourselves in this position.”

Several House and Senate staffers have also contracted the virus, according to the AP. 

The Idaho legislature’s action has been focused lately on restricting the governor’s ability to impose coronavirus-related restrictions in the state. The House is in the midst of working to pass a bill that would bar the governor from issuing a mask mandate, according to the wire service.


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