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Idaho House tries again to limit governor's emergency powers

The bills combined are intended to limit an Idaho governor's ability to alter laws, prevent gatherings and limit people from going to work during emergencies.

BOISE, Idaho — Three pieces of legislation intended to curb the authority of an Idaho governor during declared emergencies have passed the House. 

Lawmakers on Tuesday approved the measures that are watered-down versions of previous legislation Republican Gov. Brad Little vetoed. 

The bills combined are intended to limit an Idaho governor's ability to alter laws, prevent gatherings and limit people from going to work during emergencies.

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 latest bills, unlike earlier versions, do not insert the Legislature into the decision-making process during declared emergencies.

The three new bills were drawn up after Senate Bill 1136 and House Bill 135 were vetoed by Gov. Little but failed to muster enough votes to override the vetos, first happening on the Senate side last month and on the House on Tuesday, failing by one vote.

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