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The Idaho legislature has convened with the priority to end the governor’s lockdown and other unconstitutional orders, including restrictive public health orders. If this was March, bills would be flying through the House and Senate. Promises were made to end these orders. Thus far, it seems to be business as usual. Because several legislators planned to object to delaying the vote on House Concurrent Resolution (HCR2) on ending the 10 person limit on gatherings, it was debated and passed. As of Thursday the 29th, it is in the Senate and needs to have a hearing and advance to the Senate floor.

How serious is the “pandemic?”

According to information from the Idaho Emergency Plan, a pandemic is defined as a 25% attack rate/432,000 cases/1.5% fatality rate/6490 deaths.

In Idaho, current rates are: 9.3% attack rate/159,600 cases/0.39% fatality rate/1669 deaths (coronavirus.idaho.gov)

Some legislators, and the media, are fussing about “losing” $15-20 million in FEMA funding. We do not need more federal money. We received 100% of our entire state budget last year in CARES dollars. Keep in mind the Biden administration has not written the new rules yet, which could include forced vaccinations, building isolation camps, and/or increasing contact tracing. In other words, the Federal government doesn’t just write out a check. It is a contract, and FEMA will use our state’s resources as necessary to manage any emergency. This equates to unfettered access and control.

For those who are concerned with receiving the COVID-19 vaccination, the governor has directed $51 million of COVID-19 relief money for the vaccine rollout and testing.

The truth is, Idahoans want and need to get back to normal!

Someone sent me a paper written by a 7-year-old child, who has been “locked down” at her home since March. She wrote: “I hate coved 19. Coved 19 is a turd! I have a couple reasons why I hate it. 1. It cut off my school and I was soooooo sad. 2. It also cut off church.”

It concluded with, “I just wish I was presedent so I could let people go to SCHOOL!”

When I read this I nearly started to cry. What are we doing to our children?

I received, on the same day, an article with the pained question from a constituent who teaches at a local area school about the delay of HCR2: “Why the Hell did they wait? Sorry about the language, but playing with kids’ lives is reprehensible. The virus isn’t the risk; destroying kids well-being is. Idaho is playing this same game with the restriction of sports and other activities for a non-risk population. Those things are the lifeblood of teens.“ Accompanying this is the link to an article in the New York Times, “Surge of Student Suicides Pushes Las Vegas Schools to Reopen.” This hits close to my community, as a beautiful 16-year-old girl committed suicide Jan. 20th of this year.

The governor’s emergency orders and public health orders need to be rescinded immediately. Our small businesses need to reopen at full capacity, including restaurants, schools/extra-curricular activities, and other local events.

Continue to contact your legislators, the leadership of the House and Senate, and Governor Little’s office as well.

Karey Hanks is the state representative of Legislative District 35.