36 COVID-19 bills introduced, only 1 memorial made it out of the capitol

By Ruth Brown, Idaho Reports

The Idaho Legislature brought 104 lawmakers to the statehouse to address COVID-19 vaccines, who pitched 36 different bills.

After three days and hours of testimony and debate, they passed a single joint memorial, then adjourned and went home.

Senators listen to debate on SJM 105 on Tuesday, Nov. 16. Melissa Davlin/Idaho Reports

Bills that tanked ranged from employee protections to religious exemptions for vaccines and mandatory masks in schools.

Many of the bills effectively died because committee chairs refused to hear the bills in committee. The only bills that were heard in both Senate and House committees were HB 414, 417 and 419, all of which were held in the Senate State Affairs Committee. Holding a bill committee stops it from becoming law. 

One joint memorial, SJM 105, passed. 

Senate Joint Memorial 105 asks Congress to oppose the vaccine mandates imposed by President Joe Biden’s administration. 

The memorial states “the Legislature finds that inoculation is a personal medical choice, and an attack on such choice is to chisel away at the freedom and liberty upon which this nation was founded. Vaccination should not be required as a condition of employment, public or private, and religious exemptions should always be honored.”

A copy of the memorial will be sent to President Biden, the U.S. Speaker of the House, the U.S. Senate President, and to Idaho’s Congressional delegation.

The Senate and House declared Sine Die on day 311 of the 2021 Legislative Session and have adjourned until 2022.

Idaho Reports will have full coverage on this week’s show. Idaho Reports airs Friday nights at 8 pm on Idaho Public Television, and is available online at idahoptv.org/idahoreports or on the PBS app.

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