Idaho lawmakers sue House speaker over coronavirus concerns, and federal lawsuit challenges Idaho vaccination plans

FILE - A view of the Idaho Capitol is shown on Monday, Feb. 26, 2018 in Boise, Idaho. (AP Photo/Kimberlee Kruesi)

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Two Democratic lawmakers in Idaho filed a lawsuit in federal court against the Legislature and the Republican speaker of the House contending the Statehouse is unsafe for them and others with chronic health conditions because coronavirus precautions are being ignored.

Reps. Sue Chew of Boise and Muffy Davis of Ketchum filed the lawsuit Thursday saying lawmakers aren’t required to wear masks. They want a judge to order House Speaker Scott Bedke to allow lawmakers to participate remotely and provide other work accommodations.

Bedke says he’s working to make a safe and productive environment where lawmakers can wrap up business as quickly and effectively as possible.

Also, an 87-year-old south-central Idaho man has filed a federal lawsuit against Republican Gov. Brad Little and the state’s health department seeking to force the state to put people 65 and over at the front of the line for the coronavirus vaccination.

Richard Byrd of Rogerson in the lawsuit filed Monday says it’s a life-and-death issue for older people who tend to die at much higher rates than younger people if they get COVID-19. Byrd contends denying him access to the vaccine immediately is a violation of his rights under the U.S. Constitution.

The Idaho attorney general’s office declined to comment on the lawsuit.

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