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Politics & Government

Senate GOP Wants A Conversation With Idaho Businesses On Vaccine Mandates

The Idaho flag hangs inside the Idaho Capitol, under the dome.
James Dawson
Boise State Public Radio

Idaho Senate Republican leaders said they don’t support a special session right now to block businesses from requiring their employees to get a COVID-19 vaccine.

“As Senate Republicans we hold firm the belief that state government should not overregulate business, however, individual liberties must be protected to ensure Idahoans are able to work and provide for their families,” the caucus said in a statement Friday.

Instead of a special session, Senate Republicans said they want to meet with business leaders, the governor’s office and House lawmakers to discuss the issue.

“Business thrives when government involvement is limited, and it is our hope that this issue can be resolved before more regulation, as the result of legislation, needs to be considered,” they wrote.

Saint Alphonsus and St. Luke’s health systems, which are two of Idaho’s largest employers, say all of their workers in the state must get a COVID-19 vaccine by September. Otherwise, they could be fired.

Hundreds of people rallied at the Idaho Capitol on Thursday blasting the hospital mandates. Eighteen state legislators – including Sens. Regina Bayer (R-Meridian) and Christy Zito (R-Hammett) – said they support taking up a bill to block the mandates in special session.

Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin, who’s running for governor, also urged lawmakers to ban such policies.

Speaker Scott Bedke signaled earlier this week he wouldn’t unilaterally call the House back into session.

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

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