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Vaccine mandate bill attempts to reconvene Idaho Legislature

Many Republican lawmakers are angry with the vaccine requirements announced last month, and some want the Idaho House and Senate to reconvene.

BOISE, Idaho — A panel of lawmakers has recommended legislation that could lead to reconvening the Idaho Legislature if the proposed bill aimed at thwarting President Joe Biden’s vaccine mandates gets enough support. 

The Committee on Federalism that contains both senators and representatives on Monday forwarded for consideration to the full Legislature the proposed bill that would make it a misdemeanor for state or city employees to assist in implementing Biden’s COVID-19 requirements. 

Many Republican lawmakers are angry with the vaccine requirements announced last month, and some want the Idaho House and Senate to reconvene ahead of the regular session set for January to immediately prevent such mandates.

The draft legislation is from Idaho Senator Steve Vick, who is a co-chair for the Committee on Federalism. He described it in a way that frames Idaho passing legislation to control what Idaho can do on this topic, here is the crux of that explanation, again, addressing federal mandates on vaccines. 

"The government may implement things when it comes to the federal employees. And they may not., that's up to the court to decide," he said. "It may be able to implement things with federal contractors, and they may not. But what we can do for sure is say we won't help, that's clearly part of our state's sovereignty is that state employees, city employees will not help to implement these mandates that I believe are illegal and unconstitutional."

This is all accomplished by proposing additions and amendments to the Idaho health freedom act.

That portion of the Idaho code currently says:

"A person's choice in the mode of securing health care services, or to impose a penalty related thereto, is not found in the Constitution of the United States of America, and is therefore a power reserved to the people pursuant to the Ninth Amendment, and to the several states pursuant to the Tenth Amendment."

The committee's recommended legislation adds to that section of the Idaho code to list immunizations, inoculation, or injection explicitly.

Additionally, the recommended legislation adds to the enforcement section of the code making it a misdemeanor. It would be a crime for state or local officials, employees, or agents to help implement the federal vaccine requirements.

The draft legislation is a good indicator of where Idaho lawmakers could be headed on passing legislation on the vaccine mandate topic. 

The committee reports out their work and recommendations to house and Senate leadership, from there a lot could happen. It is, however, up to the Senate and House leadership to decide if and where they want to send the bill, committee-wise.

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