- Gov. Brad Little extended the statewide stay-at-home order through April 30 at a press conference held Wednesday, April 15. Little said that while he is “incredibly sympathetic” to local businesses, he said he couldn’t open up some of those businesses that have opportunity for community spread until Idaho gets “further down the road.” Little also required out-of-state visitors to Idaho to self-quarantine for 14 days. The rule does not apply to essential workers traveling across the state line, or to those who live in one state and work or gain essential services in another. When asked if the opinions of several elected Republican officials pushing back against the order, such as Rep. Heather Scott and Bonner County Sheriff Daryl Wheeler, Gov. Little said his choice to extend the order is for the good of the people: “I’m always interested in hearing their input,” he said. “Subsequent to [Bonner County Sheriff Daryl Wheeler’s letter sent April 2], I got a letter from the entire [Idaho] Sheriff’s Association supporting what I’m doing. I have to do what I have to do for the good of the people.”
- The Innovia Foundation awarded $40,000 in recovery grants to Bonner, Boundary Counties on April 14. The 15 grants awarded to the two northern counties are among 138 grants totaling more than $779,000 awarded from the COVID-19 Community Response and Recovery Funds for North Idaho and Eastern Washington. Businesses, individuals and organizations can donate and find additional information about the fund at innovia.org/COVID19.
- COVID-19 cases in Idaho nears 1,600 as the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare announced 49 new confirmed and probable cases of coronavirus on April 15. The total number of cases statewide is 1,587, with 41 deaths attributed to the COVID-19 virus as of 5 p.m. April 15. Thirty-two of 44 counties in Idaho have reported the disease. Bonner County is holding at four confirmed cases and no deaths reported, and Panhandle Health District officials confirm there is no evidence of community transmission in Bonner County. Boundary County has reported zero cases to date, and Kootenai County has a total of 48 confirmed cases. The data supplied by the department shows the highest number of cases have been among those aged 18 to 29 years old.
- Idaho ACLU files lawsuit over Idaho’s new transgender athlete law after Gov. Brad Little signed HB 500 into law on March 30. The controversial bill bans transgender and intersex girls and women from competing in female public school and university sports. After Little signed the bill into law, the Idaho ACLU stated it would “see the governor in court.” The Idaho ACLU made good on that promise Wednesday, April 15, filing a complaint in Boise federal court on behalf of two two Idaho university students, asking the judge to enter a preliminary and permanent injunction barring the law from going into effect July 1 because they claim it violates the U.S. Constitution’s equal protection, due process and search and seizure clauses, as well as Title IX, the 1972 law that bars sex discrimination in education. ACLU of Idaho Legal Director Ritchie Eppink said in a news release: “Alongside Idahoans throughout the state, we have been fighting this hateful, unconstitutional legislation since it was introduced. Businesses, major employers, schools, doctors and counselors have all warned that this law is terrible for Idaho.”
- Almost 78,000 unemployment claims have been filed in Idaho over the course of three weeks, the Idaho Department of Labor said, with 31,000 Idahoans filing for benefits last week alone. The labor department said the hardest-hit sectors include accommodations, food services, health care and construction, which account for 57% of the layoffs from March 29 to April 4. Idaho has issued more than 60,000 unemployment payments totaling nearly $18 million to about 30,000 workers who have lost jobs due to the coronavirus, according to the labor department. The department said it has reassigned workers to help process claims and also hired an additional 12 claims specialists to work through the backlog.
- Over 80 million Americans will see the coronavirus stimulus checks deposited into their bank accounts today, according to the U.S. Treasury. The first round of checks were automatically deposited into the bank accounts of those who filed a 2018 or 2019 tax return and received a refund via direct deposit. Social Security, retirement and disability beneficiaries will also automatically receive their payments. Those whose direct deposit information is not on file with the IRS but who did file a tax return in 2018 or 2019 can track their payment with the new IRS Get My Payment tool, which is now live.
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