Thanks to Governor Little who acted quickly to get us those funds, Idaho has received $900 million in new federal aid to help Idahoans impacted by the covid-19 pandemic. This includes $164 million for rent assistance for workers who lost jobs, $851,000 for the Commission on Aging for meals on wheels for seniors, and $58 million so daycare centers can remain open for children and operate safely.

Now it is up to the members of the Joint Finance and Appropriations Committee to actually help Idahoans.

However, many of the bills I have seen introduced in the last 3.5 weeks seem to suggest that there is no pandemic, no economic crisis, no health emergency: constitutional amendments blocking Idahoans from getting pain relief and treat other medical conditions through medical marijuana; a bill to ban abortion thus taking control over someone else's body; free-range parenting; lemonade stands; stripping the governor of his emergency power that helps providing funding (such as the one I mentioned above); making the community less safe by allowing bigger gatherings; allowing concealed weapons in schools. The list goes on.

On Thursday, I've been assured by one committee member that they’re "working on pushing the supplemental appropriations out of committee this week and next". It should have happened as one of the first actions of this legislative session.

Idahoans, please pay attention to what is going on and hold your elected officials accountable!

Katrin Lepler

Idaho Falls