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Idaho State News

Idaho Congressional Delegation Introduces Legislation to Protect Access to Local Post Offices

Washington, D.C.–U.S. Senators Mike Crapo and Jim Risch and Representatives Russ Fulcher and Mike Simpson (all R-Idaho) introduced legislation in both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives to improve access to local U.S. Postal Services (USPS) post offices.  The legislation would require more community input before relocating a post office as well as encourage recommendations from municipalities to request additional post offices.

The Mandating Advisable and Informed Locations and Solutions (MAILS) Act would:

  • Require the USPS to establish a formal process for local government officials to request a new post office within their localities; and
  • Require USPS to solicit and consider community input, as well as formally notify elected officials of pending relocation of local post offices and provide updates as necessary.  Any long-term relocation would require USPS to submit a report to relevant committees and legislators from affected localities.

“USPS has, for far too long, lacked the processes to engage local communities and address their needs effectively,” said Crapo.  “Idaho residents have rightfully brought these issues to our attention, and we are working in unison to help Idaho’s communities, residents and businesses have adequate access to postal services.”

“Idahoans rely on the U.S. Postal Service to provide everything from correspondence to pharmaceuticals, yet many of our communities lack access or have waited years for a physical post,” said Risch.  “The MAILS Act will empower local governments to apply for new postal facilities when and if they need them, and it will require USPS to consider community input and inform local officials whenever post offices are relocated.”

“As the population of Idaho grows, it is clear that public services must match that pace,” said Simpson.  “The MAILS Act provides a much-needed avenue for community members to engage with the United States Postal Service about their local postal service needs.  I’m proud to cosponsor legislation that will bring increased efficiency and transparency to the operations of the United States Postal Service.”

“Meridian has been one of the fastest growing cities in Idaho, and likely the country,” said Fulcher.  “To not recognize the increasing burden and inconvenience my constituents are facing when they have to travel long distances to obtain mail, including needed medications.  Other communities, like Deary and Viola, were notified their local post offices were closing.  In none of these cases has USPS adequately addressed community input.  With the closings in Deary and Viola, there was no notice.”

This legislation comes as Idaho communities have reported struggles in conveying their needs to USPS.  The City of Meridian is requesting USPS establish a new post office in the city, but USPS could not delineate the process for requesting a new post office.  Likewise, Idaho communities in Deary and Viola were notified local post offices were closing without community input, creating difficulties and inconveniences for residents and businesses traveling long distances to obtain mail, some including needed medications.

Read the full text of the bill here.