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Politics & Government

Senate Fails To Override Gov. Little's Veto On First Emergency Power Bill

The front of the Idaho capitol with blue skies behind it.
James Dawson
Boise State Public Radio

State senators couldn’t muster enough support to override Gov. Brad Little’s veto on a bill that would have limited his office’s powers during a declared emergency.

The proposal is one of two bills cutting executive authority that Little vetoed Friday.

It would’ve limited emergency declarations during a terrorist attack or violent insurrection to 60 days without approval of the legislature.

During a declared emergency, a governor couldn’t limit gatherings, bar churches from holding worship services or suspend parts of Idaho law except under special circumstances.

Sen. Grant Burgoyne (D-Boise) said the proposal would’ve prevented any governor from upholding the top responsibility of their office.

“The executive must, above all else, protect the people of Idaho,” Burgoyne said.

But supporters of the bill argue that the legislature should be more involved during an emergency if people’s rights are being restricted.

“We don’t believe as Idahoans that any one individual should have unlimited power whether there’s an emergency or not,” said Senate Majority Leader Kelly Anthon (R-Burley).

In all, four Republicans backed off their previous votes to let Little’s veto stand.

That doesn’t bode well for the second bill Little vetoed, which passed the Senate with a smaller margin. It currently awaits action in the House.

Follow James Dawson on Twitter @RadioDawson for more local news.

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