Lawmaker looks to lift limits on gatherings — including athletics

A Nampa lawmaker wants to lift restrictions on public gatherings, including school athletic events.

GOP Rep. Brent Crane’s proposal would rescind a section of Gov. Brad Little’s coronavirus health order, capping the size of most public gatherings to 10 people. Little has eased the limits on school athletics events somewhat. Players and cheerleaders can now invite two spectators apiece.

Betsy Russell of the Idaho Press reported on Thursday’s House State Affairs Committee meeting. Committee members voted to introduce Crane’s proposal.

Rep. Brent Crane, R-Nampa

“What has happened to these children in the midst of this pandemic in my opinion is unconscionable,” Crane told lawmakers, according to Russell’s report. “As you’re well aware they’re allowed to go to school, so these kids can mix and mingle all day at school, but God forbid if those kids go to a basketball game and they bring mom and dad and grandma to the basketball game.”

Dr. David Pate, a retired St. Luke’s health system CEO who serves on Little’s coronavirus task force, blasted the proposal. “I think it’s incredibly reckless, and I think it shows a disregard for the health and safety of Idahoans,” Pate said, according to Russell.

In legislative lingo, the proposal from Crane and Rep. Barbara Ehardt, R-Idaho Falls, is a concurrent resolution. Unlike a bill, concurrent resolutions pass with the support of the two houses; a governor has no power to veto it.

More reading: Idaho EdNews’ Nik Streng visits Weiser High School to take in the sights and sounds of a pandemic basketball season.

Kevin Richert

Kevin Richert

Senior reporter and blogger Kevin Richert specializes in education politics and education policy. He has more than 30 years of experience in Idaho journalism. He is a frequent guest on "Idaho Reports" on Idaho Public Television and "Idaho Matters" on Boise State Public Radio. Follow Kevin on Twitter: @KevinRichert. He can be reached at [email protected]

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