BOISE, Idaho — A northern Idaho lawmaker led a church service on Sunday despite a statewide stay-at-home order by Gov. Brad Little to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
Republican Rep. Tim Remington, the pastor of The Altar Church in Coeur d’Alene, held the service, but it’s not clear how many attended. Remington, in a YouTube video of the service posted online by the church called it a skeleton crew.
Remington didn’t immediately return a call from The Associated Press on Monday.
On Sunday, he told worshipers that the stay-at-home order violated their rights.
“They have just showed everybody in this nation how because of a flu, OK, they can completely take away all of your First Amendment rights - the right to assemble and everything that belongs to that - they just annihilated,” he said.
Idaho has 325 confirmed cases of the virus and six deaths, according to a Johns Hopkins University tally on Monday morning.
Remington was appointed to the House of Representatives by the Republican governor in late January after another lawmaker was expelled after being convicted of defrauding the U.S. government.
Elsewhere, Idaho officials are considering delaying the May primary due to the coronavirus.
On Friday, Secretary of State Lawerence Denney sent a letter to Little requesting the governor issue an order delaying the May 19 primary to no earlier than June 16 and to close the more than 900 polling places. Denney said the delay will give voters time to request an absentee ballot.
“In consultation with Idaho’s 44 County Clerks and in consideration of the extreme state of emergency that we now find ourselves in, I have serious concerns regarding the administration of the May 19, 2020 Primary Election,” Denney wrote.
He said many of the facilities used as polling places have told county clerks the facilities won’t be or may not be available for the May election. Denney also said polling place workers have concerns for their health and the health of voters.
The governor’s office on Monday didn’t have an immediate comment about Denney’s request.
For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in several weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death.
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