BOISE, Idaho (KIFI) – Governor Brad Little says he will veto two bills intended to curb his power to respond to emergencies like the coronavirus pandemic.
Governor Little said he will veto the bills because they are overly restrictive and handcuff the state’s ability to take timely and necessary action to help Idahoans in future emergencies. The bills unnecessarily politicize the state’s emergency response efforts and jeopardize critical funding for local governments. The bills violate the separation of powers doctrine and are unconstitutional.
Former Governors C.L. “Butch” Otter, Jim Risch, Dirk Kempthorne and Phil Batt all provided statements of support for Governor Little’s vetoes.
In addition, U.S. Senator Jim Risch (former Governor) and Governor Phil Batt provided the following written statements in support of Governor Little’s vetoes.
Statement from former Governor Phil Batt
“I am proud to stand with all of Idaho’s living Governors in support of Governor Little’s veto of the emergency powers bills. During the 1996 Panhandle Floods – a major natural disaster that spanned months – I was able to initiate and continue an emergency declaration at the request of local communities so Idaho could access critical resources and overcome the crisis. Governors need the ability to act quickly during an emergency to protect lives, jobs, and the economy. That is the proper role of the executive. The Governor’s emergency authorities are recognized in our state Constitution and should be maintained,” former Governor Phil Batt said.
Statement from U.S. Senator Jim Risch, former Governor
“Having spent decades in the Idaho legislature before serving as Lieutenant Governor, Governor, and U.S. Senator for Idaho, I am no stranger to power struggles between the legislative and executive branches; those struggles are as old as our form of government. Those debates and tensions make clear that certain powers should rest with the legislative branch such as the power of the purse and certain powers should rest with the Chief executive, such as emergency powers where quick and sometimes instant action is needed. In times of crisis, the governor—any governor—must have the ability to quickly and effectively address an emergency challenge. Such authority should not be unlimited or perpetual but hampering a governor’s latitude and discretion to act in future unknown emergencies is not in the state’s best interest. A long list of realistic ‘what if’s’ could be produced and in an agricultural state like Idaho a governor’s inability to act on a livestock or crop issue could be catastrophic along with other humans focused disasters. I fully support Governor Little’s decision to veto the bills,” U.S. Senator Jim Risch said.