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Idaho Politics

Senate OKs legislation to limit governor’s emergency powers

BOISE, Idaho (AP) - The Senate on Wednesday approved legislation to curb Republican Gov. Brad Little's authority during declared emergencies such as the coronavirus pandemic.

The Senate voted 28-7 to pass the bill that's a reworked version of previous legislation Little vetoed.

The Senate was unable to overcome that veto. Senate leaders said Little worked with them on the latest measure, and they anticipate his approval if it gets to his desk. The bill now goes to the House.

The measure is a watered-down version of the previous legislation and replaces an entire section of Idaho law having to do with emergency declarations.

Lawmakers are angry at actions Little took last year at the start of the coronavirus pandemic that included a temporary stay-at-home order as COVID-19 patients threatened to overwhelm hospitals.

The bill involves "extreme" emergencies and lists enemy attacks and insurrections. Certain provisions kick in if more than 12 counties are involved, which would include the coronavirus pandemic.

"In my own experience, in watching the way the pandemic in Idaho played out, it was obvious to me that we can do better," said Republican Senate Majority Leader Kelly Anthon. "It's easy to Monday morning quarterback some of this stuff, but the fact of the matter is we're given an opportunity to make improvements to code so that future Idahoans, future leaders of this state, will have better tools."

Idaho / Local News / News / Top Stories

Associated Press


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