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Idaho House rejects remote participation amid virus concerns

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Lawmakers in the House on Friday rejected a request from one of its members to allow her and others to participate remotely due to her being at increased risk of serious illness or death from the coronavirus.

The House voted 49-11 with 10 absent to reject the request from Democrat Muffy Davis of Ketchum. All 11 Democrats voted in favor of the motion, while all Republicans opposed it.

Davis is a paraplegic because of a skiing accident three decades ago that she says has resulted in compromised lung function.

Davis also says she is at increased risk of getting COVID-19 because she’s in a wheelchair and moisture emitted by people speaking to her without masks tends to drop downward.

She argued that lawmakers should be able to participate remotely, but be required to be visible on the screen to fellow lawmakers when voting. The change in the House rules would have ended at the end of the legislative session.

Republican Rep. Brent Crane, after the vote, said remote participation is not an appropriate way for lawmakers to represent constituents because they wouldn’t be as involved in the lawmaking process and because of potential technical problems.

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