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Idaho Politics

Senate panel OKs bill to trim governor’s emergency powers

BOISE, Idaho (AP) - Senate lawmakers unable to overcome two vetoes by Republican Gov. Brad Little of legislation to curb his authority during emergencies such as the coronavirus pandemic advanced a third measure Wednesday.

The Senate State Affairs Committee voted 7-2 to send the bill to the full Senate. Senate leaders say Little worked with them on the latest measure, and they anticipate his approval if it gets to his desk.

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.

"As co-equal branches of the government, the Legislature and the executive branch really should be working together," said Republican Senate Majority Leader Kelly Anthon.

The full Senate and House, eager to wrap up business on Wednesday, could each vote on the measure to get it to the governor by Thursday.

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.

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Associated Press

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