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Idaho Politics

Senate votes for 2 bills that would restrict governor’s powers during emergency

BOISE, Idaho (KIFI) - The Idaho Senate voted in favor of two bills that would restrict the governor's power during an emergency.

Both bills would limit the governor's disaster declarations to 60 days and then the legislature would need to terminate or extend a disaster declaration by legislative action.

With no debate from the senators, Bill 1136 that deals with human-made event, such as a terrorist attack, was approved and now heads to the governor's office.

But House Bill 135, Dealing with Disasters, was amended by the full Senate and now heads back to the house.

Sponsors say they're not taking away the governor's powers during an emergency, but when it restricts people's lives like worshipping or closing their business, the legislators need to be included.

"Because these kinds of emergencies, one's that are generally and universally force us to close our businesses, to close our schools, to keep people from leaving their homes, these types of emergencies are different than snow storms, they're different from air quality problems, forest fires, and they require all hands on deck."

The two bills also forbid the governor from suspending any laws during a disaster and any restrictions on gun rights and allow the exercise of religion or the right to a peaceable assembly.

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