District 26 Rep. Muffy Davis, D-Ketchum, should not have been forced to go to court to be able to do her job safely and represent the district.

As a paraplegic who uses a wheelchair, Davis is at high risk for severe infection and complications of the COVID-19 coronavirus.

Davis filed suit last week against House Speaker Scott Bedke and the Legislature for refusing to arrange for her to work remotely and to occupy a self-contained office to reduce the risk of infection.

The Legislature is in session in Boise in Ada County, which is topping the charts for new infections.

Republicans, who dominate the Legislature, ignored the call to put protective rules and physical barriers in place to protect state workers, elected officials and the public from the airborne virus. Instead, they are operating with no-mask, no-rules, no-problem protocols.

Davis said House leaders did not respond to multiple requests for accommodation that she lodged with them last fall.

In failing to act, House leaders are preventing Davis from fulfilling her duties as a duly elected official and depriving District 26 of representation. She should not have to risk her life to represent her constituents.

Republicans hold a supermajority in the House and Senate and occupy the Governor’s Office. Leaders have had months to prepare to safely convene the session that began this week.

Davis filed suit along with another Democratic legislator who is also at high risk. Bedke’s failure to respond or to protect Davis is not just callous, it is abusive in the extreme.

The courts must act quickly to restore representation for District 26 and to end the abuse of both Davis and the democratic process.

“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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