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Idaho lawmakers plan to discuss federal vaccine mandate this week

The Joint Committee on Federalism meets several times a year to address the balance between state and federal constitutional responsibilities
The Joint Committee on Federalism committee meets several times a year to address the balance...
The Joint Committee on Federalism committee meets several times a year to address the balance between state and federal constitutional responsibilities(Keith Ridler | AP)
Published: Sep. 21, 2021 at 9:28 AM MDT
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BOISE, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) — Lawmakers will be meeting this week to address concerns regarding the recent federal mandate for nationwide vaccination and possible state responses.

The Joint Committee on Federalism was first formed in 2019 and meets several times a year to address the balance between state and federal constitutional responsibilities. Their first meeting this year will be on Wednesday in Boise where they plan to explore and discuss possible challenges to the vaccine mandate with members of the public.

Many Republican lawmakers feel the president’s directive is a federal overreach, and the government has no business interfering in the personal health choices of an individual. Those decisions should be left between individuals and their doctors.

House Speaker Scott Bedke said litigation is probably the best avenue to getting something done. Last week Governor Brad Little, Attorney General Lawrence Wasden, Senate President Pro Tempore Chuck Winder, and Bedke sent a letter to President Joe Biden today detailing the flaws with the President’s federal vaccine mandate on private business and threatened legal action if he does not rescind the directive. However, Bedke said it could be a while before a lawsuit is filed because OSHA still has to put a rule in place.

However, he did not rule out lawmakers putting together legislation to stymie the vaccine mandate and presenting it to the legislature when they reconvene near the end of the year.

“The legislation that we passed back on May 12 required us to come in and close the books before the end of 2021, and we will do that. We will take up any business that is rightfully before the House. In this case, it is a recommendation from the Ethics Committee regarding Rep. [Priscilla] Giddings, and so we will take that up when we come in,” said Bedke. “So let’s just say the committee on Federalism comes with a recommendation that has critical mass. That has the support of the Senate and the House...then we will go in and take that up.”

The new federal vaccine mandate requires that employers with more than 100 workers have their employees vaccinated or be tested for the virus weekly.

Joint Committee on Federalism
Joint Committee on Federalism(SK)

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