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Politics & Government

Lt. Gov. McGeachin Wants Lawmakers To Bar Vaccine Mandates

Janice McGeachin for governor
James Dawson
Boise State Public Radio
Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin, right, shortly before greeting a crowd on the steps of the Idaho Capitol in Boise as she announces her bid for governor in 2022.

Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin is asking state lawmakers to prevent private businesses from requiring their employees to get a COVID-19 vaccine.

McGeachin, who’s also running for governor next year, wrote a letter to Speaker Scott Bedke Friday, asking him to call the House back into session to take up the issue.

Saint Alphonsus and St. Luke’s health systems both announced Thursday all of their employees in Idaho would be required to take the COVID-19 vaccine by September, or they could be fired.

Both already require employees to get annual flu shots and would exempt workers for medical or religious reasons.

McGeachin said in her letter that the policy leaves “little recourse” for employees who don’t want to get a vaccine that’s only received emergency use authorization.

On Thursday, she retweeted a story outlining the decision by the healthcare systems, saying "Not on my watch!"

Gov. Brad Little issued an executive order in April banning vaccine passports and vaccine mandates for state employees, but it doesn’t affect private businesses.

The federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has twice said vaccine mandates are legal with a few exceptions.

Bedke didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

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

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