NAMPA, Idaho — On Monday, a group of Nampa lawmakers, including two Idaho senators and four representatives, issued a joint statement expressing opposition to Idaho employees being required to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
The joint statement comes days after three of the state's major medical providers, St. Luke's Health System, Trinity Health, the owner of Saint Alphonsus, and Primary Health Medical Group, announced all employees would be required to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
The medical organizations said the decision comes down to the safety of employees, patients and the community.
Idaho lawmakers who issued the statement of opposition include:
- Sen. Todd Lakey (R-Nampa)
- Sen. Jeff Agenbroad (R-Nampa)
- Rep. Rick Youngblood (R-Nampa)
- Rep. Brent Crane (R-Nampa)
- Rep. Ben Adams (R-Nampa)
- Rep. Bruce Skaug (R-Nampa)
The joint statement read:
Most employers are choosing to inform and educate employees regarding COVID vaccines. However, some Idaho employers have recently threatened employees with job loss if they refuse the COVID shots.
We believe the right to refuse invasive medical procedures, including vaccinations, is paramount to the interests of the employers, employees, and freedom of the individual in almost all situations.
We will support legislation to properly protect the physical freedoms of Idaho employees from mandatory COVID vaccinations.
per pro. The Senators and Legislators of Districts 12 and 13
The Republican lawmakers share opposition to mandatory COVID-19 vaccines with Idaho Lt. Governor and current gubernatorial candidate Janice McGeachin. Last Friday, she called on the Idaho legislature to reconvene and prevent vaccines from being required by private businesses.
According to a letter from McGeachin to House Speaker Scott Bedke (R-Oakley), Executive Order 2021-04, which was signed by Governor Brad Little to ensure "vaccine passports" could not be issued in Idaho, only covers state agencies.
Idaho is currently an "employment at will" state, meaning that the employee/employer relationship can be terminated at any time, for any reason, unless there's already a law in place to prevent that from happening.
“Now, let's be clear what we're talking about," Dan Williams, a Boise attorney who specializes in employment law, told KTVB in December. "Your boss can’t hold you down while somebody shoots you with a vaccine, but as a condition of continued employment, employers can require vaccinations of their employees to maintain a safe workplace for themselves and for the public."
Watch more Idaho politics:
See all of our latest political coverage in our YouTube playlist: