Senate fails to override Coronavirus Pause Act veto

By Melissa Davlin, Idaho Reports

The Idaho Senate has failed to override Gov. Brad Little’s veto of the Coronavirus Pause Act. 

The Senate voted 21-14 to override the veto of the legislation, which would have have prevented both public and private entities from requiring vaccinations as a condition of employment or service. 

The original legislation passed the Senate on a 24-11 vote, with three more ayes than the veto override. Even with popular legislation, overturning a veto is a tough hurdle — A yes vote on legislation doesn’t guarantee a vote against the governor.

As a veto override requires a two-thirds majority from both chambers, and the Senate voted first, the House didn’t have a chance to vote. Bill co-sponsor Rep. Ben Adams addressed his colleagues after the Senate vote.

Rep. Ben Adams addresses the House on March 31, 2022.

“You know, we talk about wanting to have the lightest touch of government, but why are we here if there’s no touch? There’s a difference,” Adams said in a brief floor speech. Without government protections, he said, “I would make the case we should go back to 1920s industrialism where you can work people to death.”

“Discrimination has no place in Idaho. I believe that,” Adams added. “I believe, overwhelmingly, we all believe that.”

To those opposed the legislation, Adams said “I hope the citizens of Idaho treat you like lukewarm water… And I hope they spit you out.”

The Coronavirus Pause Act goes against his limited government philosophy, Little wrote in his veto letter, adding the proposal “significantly expands government overreach into the private sector.”

“I have been consistent in stating my belief that businesses should be left to make decisions about the management of their operations and employees with limited interference from government,” Little wrote. “For the same reason, I sued to stop President Joe Biden’s vaccine mandates three times, successfully challenging his unprecedented government overreach into the lives of American workers and the decisions of free businesses.”

The Coronavirus Pause Act isn’t the only piece of legislation Little vetoed. As of Thursday afternoon, Little had vetoed six total pieces of legislation, including one that would reconfigure the Idaho Judicial Council.


<strong>Melissa Davlin</strong> | Lead Producer
Melissa Davlin | Lead Producer

Melissa Davlin is the lead producer and host of Idaho Reports. She has covered the Idaho Legislature since 2012. She also produces for Outdoor Idaho and Idaho Public Television. She has won multiple awards for her work, including a regional Emmy for her documentary on Chinese immigration in Idaho, Idaho Press Club broadcast reporter of the year for 2015 and 2019, the Idaho Press Club First Amendment Award, and the 2019 Boise State University Enhancing Public Discourse award. She lives in Boise with her husband and two children. 

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: