Idaho Legislature Forced to Shut Down After COVID Outbreak Among Top Lawmakers, Some of Whom Refused To Wear Masks and Ignored Physical Distancing Guidelines

Jim Urquhart/Reuters

So many Idaho lawmakers have tested positive for COVID-19 that the state’s legislature has been forced to call a two-week recess, KPBS reports. The infected legislators include two senators and six House members. The outbreak comes as Republican lawmakers repeatedly refuse to mandate the use of masks and ignore physical distancing guidelines. “I have no regrets on the way we conducted the safety protocols to this point,” said Republican House Speaker Scott Bedke. He also doesn’t plan to enforce a mask mandate after the recess because he doesn’t feel like he “has that authority as the speaker.” Many Idaho Republican lawmakers have reduced the severity of COVID-19, some claiming it “should not even be considered a pandemic,” according to KPBS. The Lieutenant Governor of Idaho, Janice McGeachin, was even seen at a mask-burning rally at the state’s Capitol earlier this month.

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SOURCE: The Daily Beast – Jennifer Adams