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Idaho legislature adjourns after failed veto override

Idaho Statehouse
Samantha Wright
Boise State Public Radio
Idaho Statehouse

Idaho lawmakers are leaving Boise for the year after being unable to override a vetoed bill that would’ve blocked many COVID-19 vaccine mandates.

Gov. Brad Little vetoed the bill earlier this week. It would’ve given exemptions to healthcare businesses, federal contractors and companies doing business in other states or countries with vaccine mandates.

The proposal also would’ve expired next spring had it gone into effect.

It originally passed in the Senate with a veto-proof majority, but three lawmakers swapped their votes Thursday to let the veto stand amid no debate.

The proposal didn’t have a veto-proof majority in the House, however, which Senate Pro Tem Chuck Winder (R-Boise) felt became a factor.

“That was part of the discussions people had was, ‘Well, if we do override it, it won’t do any good because it’ll just go to the House and they won’t be able to override it,’” Winder said.

Speaker Scott Bedke (R-Oakley) said the bill’s allies in the House pushed hard to muster enough support. “Phones did light up over the weekend,” Bedke said, but to no avail.

“I think most were resigned. I mean, they can count and they can do the math and the votes were not there,” he said.

Despite the loss, Bedke, Winder and other Republican leaders celebrated what they see as significant wins during this year’s legislative session.

Almost immediately at the beginning of the year, lawmakers quickly ushered in hundreds of millions of dollars in income tax cuts on the projection of a massive $1.6 billion surplus.

Gov. Little also urged the House and Senate to put that money towards paying down the state’s outstanding debt, addressing deferred building maintenance and plugging it in to fix aging roads and bridges.

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

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I cover politics and a bit of everything else for Boise State Public Radio. Outside of public meetings, you can find me fly fishing, making cool things out of leather or watching the Seattle Mariners' latest rebuilding season. If you have a tip, please get in touch!

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