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Idaho bill axing COVID-19 from emergency list passes House

The bill passed 58-12 on a party-line vote Wednesday and would effectively exclude the coronavirus pandemic because not enough Idaho residents have died from it yet.
Credit: AP
Republican state Rep. Julianne Young addresses the House State Affairs Committee on Monday, Feb, 22, 2021, in the Statehouse in Boise, Idaho. The committee approved a measure defining pandemics that would appear to exclude the coronavirus pandemic as an emergency under the state's disaster preparedness act. (AP Photo/Keith Ridler)

BOISE, Idaho — The Idaho House has passed legislation to define how severe an epidemic must be before it can qualify as a disaster — and the current coronavirus pandemic wouldn't meet the criteria. 

The bill passed 58-12 on a party-line vote Wednesday and would effectively exclude the coronavirus pandemic because not enough Idaho residents have died from it yet.

It's part of a package of bills designed to shift power from the governor's office to the state Legislature, all pushed by lawmakers angry over the actions Gov. Brad Little has taken to slow the spread of the virus. Blackfoot Republican Rep. Julianne Young sponsored the legislation.

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