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Senator Abby Lee Newsletter – District 9 – February 26, 2021

Dear Friends,

Thank you to everyone who came out to one of the town hall meetings last Saturday. I enjoyed visiting with folks in Council, Midvale, and Payette. If you were not able to attend, please feel free to send me an email or call to discuss issues of concern.

Following are a few highlights from this week:

Statute changes are needed to share in emergency responsibilities

I am not willing to jeopardize Idaho’s ability to ensure we can address emergencies as we have done successfully for the past several decades. When fires, floods, drought, or other emergencies threaten our citizens, the Governor currently has constitutional powers to allow his office to help address these needs. This is prudent and reasonable. But many other powers are delegated to the Governor by the legislature for use when the legislature is not in session. Since we are now back in session, it is appropriate and necessary for us to identify ways we could and should be able to end, or continue, any statewide emergencies.

As we continue to find the right way to rebalance legislative powers during emergencies, two new bills were presented this week:

S1136: This legislation is a revision to Title 46, Chapter 6 Idaho Code clarifying and limiting the powers of the governor during episodes of extreme emergency. It provides limitations on the amount of time a governor may maintain a declaration of extreme peril without concurrence by the legislature, protects Idaho workers as essential, reaffirms the legislature’s authority to end emergency declarations and/or emergency regulations, prevents the suspension of the right to peaceably assemble and free exercise of religion, protects Idahoans’ right to bear arms during emergencies, and prohibits a governor from unilaterally altering or suspending Idaho Code. Read the complete bill here: https://legislature.idaho.gov/sessioninfo/2021/legislation/S1136/

S1134: The purpose of this legislation is to amend Idaho Code § 46-1005A by inserting language allowing for the recovery of federal funds after a Declaration of State Emergency has expired or was terminated. Read the complete bill here: https://legislature.idaho.gov/sessioninfo/2021/legislation/S1134/

Vaccines available statewide

As things continue to move forward, I am anxious to see a more coordinated roll-out of vaccines across the state. The initial roll-out was fraught with a few delays and bumps, but hopefully those are being worked out this week.

For more information, visit https://healthandwelfare.idaho.gov/covid-19-vaccination or call the Vaccine Hotline at 208-455-5411 (M-F 8:00 am to 5:00 pm)

Sincerely,

Abby Lee

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