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Business group: Idaho lawmakers setting vaccine rules is 'thinly cloaked socialism'

The president of the lobby group says it will oppose any attempts by the Legislature to put restrictions on businesses requiring COVID-19 vaccines.
Credit: KTVB file
Shoppers browse inside Dragonfly Boutique in downtown Boise in May 2021.

BOISE, Idaho — The president of the state's top business lobby group in a letter to Idaho lawmakers says the group will oppose any attempts by the Legislature to impose restrictions on businesses requiring COVID-19 vaccines. 

Idaho Association of Commerce & Industry President Alex LaBeau wrote in the Tuesday letter that such a law would put "tyrannical practices" on the free market. 

The Legislature is scheduled to reconvene Monday, mainly to pass a law or laws to thwart President Joe Biden's vaccine mandates. But potential laws aimed at preventing Idaho employers from requiring employees get the coronavirus vaccine are also likely to be introduced.

LeBeau argued that subjecting Gem State employers to conflicting mandates would put them "between a rock and a hard place" and accused lawmakers of adding regulations merely to score political points.

“Idahoans overwhelmingly stand for the division of government and business and letting the private sector determine its own practices for the well-being of its workforce," LaBeau wrote. "As we hear about possible legislation from self-proclaimed ‘champions of liberty and limited government’ in support of guaranteed salaries and stripping the rights of entrepreneurs, we couldn’t stand by quietly as this thinly cloaked socialism gets wrapped up in a facade of freedom. These are not the values of this state or its people."

Idaho is already involved in two lawsuits against the Biden administration's vaccine mandates. One of the lawsuits involves federal workers, while the other lawsuit takes aim at the requirement for businesses with 100 or more employees to ensure their workers are either vaccinated or tested weekly for COVID-19. 

LeBeau wrote in the letter that there "is no sound reason" for the Legislature to reconvene before the Supreme Court makes a decision on whether the mandates are lawful. 

“Many of the actions currently being discussed by legislators would have a devastating impact on Idaho employers and will lead to business closures, job losses and a setback for our economy," he warned. 

To read the full letter, click here.

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