BOISE -- The Idaho Press Club hosted a virtual breakfast where Governor Brad Little answered many questions highlights on the recently killed House Bill 226, and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and vaccines.
Little started with an opening statement saying that he was disappointed there was no bacon, as the in-person event was not possible during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Then reporters started with questions for the governor.
House Bill 226 was a supplemental bill that would provide almost $6 million in federal funds from the Federal Preschool Development Grant to Idaho’s State Board of Education. This bill would increase Idaho’s budget for early schooling for young children.
Debate on the floor had conservatives saying that the curriculum and reading materials would push a social justice agenda on Idaho’s youth.
The bill was killed in a 34 aye to 36 nay vote on the House floor, on March 2, Tuesday morning.
“The evidence is overwhelming that what we do for these kids early is good for Idaho and good for our students,” Little said. “I was hopeful that the grant was going to help these school districts address that, but that is not to be now, and I am disappointed in that.”
Little said that they will try again, as education has been a big focus of the governor through his literary initiative.
COVID-19 is an obvious topic looming over all lawmakers heads right now.
“I’m glad it was not my first year as Governor,” Little said. “We need to get the vaccine out as fast as we can.”
He said that some states are trying to move more towards what Idaho has been doing with COVID-19.
President Joe Biden said that the United States was “on track” to supply vaccines for “every adult in America by the end of May,” back on Tuesday this week.
Governor Little has a few concerns with this statement.
“I don’t think the math adds up,” Little said. “What they are telling us, on how much vaccine we are going to get does not comport with having that much vaccine.”
Little says that the health districts have the capacity to distribute up to four times the amount of vaccine that is going out now, but Idaho just does not have the doses.
“It is important for me to have the authority to use the National Guard from a regulatory standpoint,” Little said. “I would love to have everybody vaccinated by the end of May.”
With a third producer of the vaccine on top of Moderna and Pfizer BioNTech now in the mix, there is more money flowing. Johnson & Johnson has a $1 billion contract written during the Trump presidency that gets more doses to the American people.
The breakfast was hosted by the Idaho Press Club and allowed journalists, reporters, and private citizens to have a sit down and question Idaho’s Governor.