A state legislator in North Idaho is using her official government newsletter to urge constituents to defy Gov. Brad Little’s order to stay home in face of the coronavirus pandemic.
Rep. Heather Scott, a Republican who represents the Blanchard area, sent the newsletter Thursday morning. It was titled, in part, “the virus that tried to kill the Constitution.”
In a YouTube video accompanying the newsletter, Scott says she understands “there’s a real sickness out there, and there are certain people at risk.”
But she says the government doesn't have the right to force businesses to close or stop people from attending church.
“It is not the role of government in a free society to tell us what we can and cannot do,” she said. “This is not going to end until we, as citizens, push back.”
Scott’s YouTube video was published by Redoubt News, a political website and podcast focused on preparing for societal collapse.
In the newsletter, Scott says the governor based a stay-at-home “compliance form” after one in Los Angeles, a point she reiterates in the video. Such a form allows people to notify the state if a person or business isn’t following the stay-home order. Washington has one.
“I don’t know why Idaho is falling in line with some of the most liberal governors across this nation,” Scott says. “This, what we’re doing, is not the Idaho way.”
In the video, Scott talks about how Idahoans are being “bullied” into giving up “God-given, constitutionally-protected rights,” and likens the stay-home order to something that would be done in North Korea.
She asks viewers if their county sheriff will “enforce these edicts.”
“If they try to force you to close your business, will you stand up for yourself? Will you have others stand up for yourself?” she says. “I think we all should be doing that right now. We do not want to lose any more of our freedom.”
At one point, Scott suggests the media is spreading misinformation, before calling the pandemic “serious.”
“The lying, Trump-hating media, who continues to push global socialist agendas, has told us there’s an emergency, and it’s a pandemic,” she says. “This is serious, but that does not mean that our Constitution just disappears or is null and void.”
Scott did not respond to calls Thursday seeking comment.
Little issued his stay-home order March 25, requiring all Idahoans to shelter in place and shuttering all businesses except those deemed essential for 21 days. Activities essential to the health and welfare of Idahoans, like grocery shopping and seeking medical treatment, are allowed. So is outdoor exercise, as long as people keep six feet from others.
Little has not commented on repercussions if people flout the order.
Not The Only Legislator
Scott isn’t the only politician in the Inland Northwest questioning how the state and federal governments are reacting to the pandemic. Bonner County Sheriff Daryl Wheeler wrote an open letter to Little on Thursday, asking him to reconvene the Legislature to discuss the stay-home order, saying “Covid-19 is nothing like the Plague.” “We were misled by some Public Health Officials, and now is the time to reinstate our Constitution,” Wheeler wrote. “In the spirit of liberty and the Constitution, you can request those that are sick to stay home, but, at the same time, you must release the rest of us to go on with our normal business.”In his letter, Wheeler cites a “letter circulating around the nation” written by Alfie Oakes, a Florida businessman who has questioned the government response to the coronavirus. Calls to Wheeler were not returned Thursday afternoon. North Idaho pastor and state Rep. Tim Remington has called the coronavirus a “gimmick” in a sermon, and continues to hold Sunday services at The Altar church in Coeur d’Alene.
Washington state Rep. Matt Shea, who represents the Spokane Valley (not the city of Spokane), has shared numerous articles on his Facebook page that describe the coronavirus as a possible “Chinese biological attack.” One article was from a website called UnderstandingTheThreat.com, which says it offers “strategic and operational training and consulting on the threat of the global islamic movement.”
In December, the House released a 108-page report by an outside investigator that concluded Shea is a leader in the Patriot Movement, has close ties to militia groups and played a role in three armed standoffs, including the 2016 occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon.
“Representative Shea participated in act of domestic terrorism against the United States by his actions before and during the armed takeover and standoff at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge,” according to the investigation by the Rampart Group.
The House turned the report over to the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s office. Shea said the only contact he’s had with the FBI has been regarding threats against him and his family.
Though the GOP caucus expelled Shea from its ranks, and stripped him of his committee assignments, the full House did not vote to remove him. He is up for re-election this year.
Though Washington state was the first to register a confirmed case of COVID-19 as well as the nation’s first coronavirus-related death, Idaho has so far been spared what its neighbor has experienced.
As of Thursday morning, Idaho has 669 confirmed cases statewide, and nine deaths. Washington has 5,984 cases and 247 deaths. Recent reporting delays for Washington’s statewide data caused a backup of several days in reporting new numbers each day.
In North Idaho, there are 32 cases and no deaths, according to the Panhandle Health District.