House Oks Senate Changes To Bill Trimming Governor's Powers

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — The House on Thursday approved Senate changes to a bill trimming an Idaho governor’s powers during declared emergencies while increasing the Legislature’s power.

Lawmakers voted 52-15 to approve two modest changes to the bill made in the Senate.

Lawmakers are taking aim at rules intended to stem the coronavirus pandemic, like limiting gatherings and nonessential travel, as well as a governor’s authority during localized natural disasters such as wildfires and floods.

The bill now goes to the governor, with many lawmakers expecting a veto that they would attempt to override.

Another bill already sent to the governor targets a governor’s emergency powers during human-made events, such as a terrorist attack.

The two bills each allow a governor to declare an emergency and extend it past 60 days, but only to ensure federal funding continues. Both bills would require any restrictions accompanying a governor’s order to expire after 60 days unless renewed by the Legislature.

The bills would also prevent a governor from imposing some restrictions during an emergency. A governor’s emergency order couldn’t prevent people from going to work or gathering, including for religious services. An order also couldn’t quarantine healthy people.

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The dateline in this story has been corrected to Boise from Boisie.