Those begging, pleading and urging Idaho’s Republican legislative leaders to postpone the Legislature’s winter session should step back and reconsider.

Instead, they should demand that legislators who want to attend sign a “No Treatment” pledge before they attend the COVID-19 super-spreader event.

Instead of urging postponement and wringing their hands about infections, the governor, Democratic minority leaders, like-minded citizens and editorial writers should demand the pledge from every legislator who supports the session.

Idaho Gov. Brad Little called on fellow Republican leaders to delay meeting until spring when the rate of infections and hospitalizations are projected to slow as vaccinations mount.

House Speaker Scott Bedke emphatically rejected the request. Bedke told Boise State Public Radio, “I think there’s a lot of momentum with the status quo, and I think people will want to operate that way until they cannot.”

Until they cannot? Until they learn that touching a hot stove burns? Until they learn that driving into a brick wall at 60 mph kills?

We’re tired of calling on political leaders to lead through example and to protect others from this deadly virus. We’re tired of asking people who should know better to wear masks and stay away from others.

Instead, we call on the legislators who support this invitation-to-infection session to pledge to forgo treatment from overburdened doctors and to refuse to go to emergency rooms when they inevitably become infected.

We call on them to refuse to occupy a hospital bed and to refuse a ventilator by refusing to be admitted to a hospital. This will leave resources available for more deserving patients like members of the public who will become infected during legislative hearings.

Idaho should take a lesson from insurance companies. They know how to protect themselves. They will not pay out life insurance death benefits for people who fail to disclose that they participate in risky activities like skydiving, bungee jumping or scuba diving. Some health insurance companies charge smokers up to 50 percent more for premiums.

Legislators should check their policies. If exposing oneself and others to COVID-19 isn’t risky behavior, nothing is.

Bedke’s comments came after a legislative planning session in Boise where maskless, hand-shaking legislators engaged in the practices that spread the virus. Leaders set up no requirements for masks or testing, so legislators who meet in Boise will knowingly be engaging in risky behavior.

Fair is fair. Idaho legislators who want to walk the COVID-19 tightrope should do so without a net.


“Our View” represents the opinion of the newspaper editorial board, which is made up of members of its board of directors. Remarks may be directed to editorialboard@mtexpress.com.

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