On Tuesday, Idaho Governor Brad Little (R) announced he was finally going to end the public health disaster emergency declaration. The date currently set to end the declaration is April 15th, almost exactly a month before Idaho’s primary elections.
Little is being primaried this year by Idaho’s Lt. Governor Janice McGeachin (R) and others. Former President and possible future President Donald Trump has endorsed the Lt. Governor’s bid to primary Little. McGeachin has pushed for election audits and called for a full immigration moratorium, something many Republicans support quietly but are afraid to publicly say.
McGeachin and many other Idahoans have been unhappy with the governor for keeping the state under the emergency order for so long. Back in June of 2020, it appeared that Little signaled he would be rescinding the order along with the ‘Stay Healthy’ order.
McGeachin shared to Facebook, “For some time now, I have been calling on Idaho to return to its normal system of governance. I am very happy to report that, as of Saturday, June 13, the Governor’s ‘stay healthy order’ and its associated ‘extreme emergency declaration’ will be rescinded, which means that Idaho’s laws, rules, and Constitutional system of government will be back in full effect.
We must now focus on the hard work of rebuilding our economy and getting Idahoans back to work. This will be a formidable undertaking, but I have faith in the resiliency and determination of Idahoans. Thank you for your perseverance during this difficult period.”
However, this did not come to fruition and Idaho has remained under the order for close to two years now.
Little’s press release highlights that money was his motive for keeping the state under the order for so long, more so than his constituents’ desired freedoms. Little however doesn’t see it that way according to his press release. This move could cost him in the upcoming primary, as many see it as profits before people. The state of Idaho already has a budget surplus due to a booming economy and many California Republicans (and others) fleeing to the state. But it’s hard for a well-connected politician to turn down “free” money oftentimes, even when and if there are possible strings attached to a Democrat president.
The bold part of the press release from the governor reads, “FEMA covered $257 million in costs since March of 2020 that would otherwise have been covered by the Idaho state budget or local governments. That means without the emergency declaration, the State of Idaho would not be able to provide Idahoans with historic tax relief and unprecedented strategic investments to keep up with growth.”
Later in the press release, “misinformation” is bulleted
“Since the start of the pandemic, there has been much misinformation about what the emergency declaration does and does not do. The emergency declaration:
- Existed as an administrative document to ensure FEMA can cover costs associated with pandemic needs, so the Idaho state budget and local governments are not on the hook for costs
- Enabled Idaho to cut red tape to allow more nurses to enter the workforce and expand telehealth services
- Enabled the activation of the National Guard to expand healthcare capacity
- Added hundreds of medical personnel to support long-term care facilities and hospitals overrun with patients
- Covered costs for first responders; county emergency management; funeral assistance; testing; vaccine rollout; PPE, ventilators, and other medical equipment, bringing much needed resources to Idaho
- DOES NOT violate or restrict any rights of Idahoans
- DOES NOT put Idaho on lockdown
- DOES NOT put in place mandates for masks or vaccines”
The Idaho House has moved to rescind the emergency order without the governor’s approval, the latest attempt successfully passed the house Tuesday. However, they have been unable to get it past the Idaho Senate. It seems unlikely that the latest resolution will pass in the Senate with the latest announcement from Governor Little.
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