BOISE, Idaho (AP) — So many Idaho workers lost jobs so quickly this year due to the coronavirus pandemic that an unemployment extended benefits program will go into effect that was last used during the Great Recession in 2009. The state Department of Labor said Wednesday that the program will give people receiving weekly unemployment payments up to 13 weeks of additional unemployment insurance beyond the normal 20-week maximum period for payments. Idaho won’t pay for the extra unemployment payments because a federal program called the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation that’s part of the $2.2 trillion coronavirus rescue package approved by Congress in March offers the extended benefits.
YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK, Wyo. (AP) — Yellowstone National Park administrators say a woman was knocked to the ground by a grizzly bear and suffered minor injuries as she was hiking near Old Faithful geyser. Park officials said Wednesday that the 37-year-old tourist from Columbia, Missouri was hiking alone earlier this week when she came upon two grizzly bears. One of the bears knocked the woman to the ground, scratching her thigh and causing minor injuries to her face when she fell. She declined medical attention and the surrounding area has been temporarily closed. Park bear biologist Kerry Gunther says no action is planned against the bears.
BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Idaho officials must decide by Friday afternoon whether to put an education funding initiative on the November ballot or allow an additional seven weeks for electronic signature gathering. U.S. District Court Judge B. Lynn Winmill issued the order Tuesday after granting a preliminary injunction to Reclaim Idaho. The group that backs citizen initiatives argued that Republican Gov. Brad Little’s statewide stay-at-home order due to the coronavirus pandemic didn’t include exceptions for ballot initiative signature gathering. The group said that violated the First Amendment-protected process of signature gathering, a form of political speech. Little and Republican Secretary of State Lawerence Denney say they will appeal the decision.
OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — A statewide public health order is requiring people in Washington state to wear facial coverings in most indoor and outdoor public settings. A separate proclamation requires even more stringent requirements on Yakima County, one of the areas hardest hit by the coronavirus. In addition to being covered by the statewide mandate on masks in public, there will now be a legal requirement that prohibits people from entering a place of business _ either indoors or outdoors _ without first donning a mask. Under that same proclamation, businesses in Yakima County are prohibited from allowing a customer to enter a business, or conduct business with a customer in any public space unless the customer is wearing a face covering. The orders take effect Friday.
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