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Former Idaho House Speakers call out "Legislature's reckless and careless attempts" to end emergency declarations

Posted at 7:04 PM, Jan 27, 2021

BOISE, Idaho — Two former speakers of the Idaho House of Representatives are speaking out against the Idaho Legislature's attempts to limit some of Gov. Brad Little's powers during an emergency.

Congressmen Mike Simpson and former Speaker Bruce Newcomb said in a joint press release Wednesday the legislature's "actions on emergency declarations endanger Idahoans."

"The Idaho Legislature's reckless and careless attempts to end the COVID-19 emergency declaration and weaken Idaho's response in future emergencies puts this generation and future generations of Idahoans at risk," the statement reads.

Simpson and Newcomb encouraged the Idaho Legislature to "take a step back and think this through."

Little called the legislation to end the current emergency order a "shameful game" and warned of the potential consequences Jan 22.

"What does that mean for you, the citizens of Idaho? It means less vaccine, more taxes and more red tape," said Little. "It means the vaccine roll-out is jeopardized — something that is unacceptable in this final stretch of our pandemic fight. It means cities and counties will have to find the funds from you to pay for the equipment and support they need to battle COVID-19 in your community. It means hospitals could lose access to critical supplies. It means we lose the funding to utilize the Idaho National Guard to support testing, vaccine distribution, food banks and medical facilities, something that has been a game-changer in the pandemic fight."

Senator Steve Vick asked to return the senate bill to end the current state of emergency back to the committee in the senate Wednesday.

Speaker of the House Scott Bedke has not returned request for comment.