Dear Editor:

After a six-month recess, the Idaho legislature reconvened on Nov. 15 to take up the issues of the Biden vaccine mandates. During the three-day session 30 pieces of legislation, mostly related to vaccine mandates, were submitted but not one piece passed through the process. Of all proposed bills to the address the mandates, the legislature could only manage a “Senate Joint Memorial” #105 written to President Biden. The “letter” strongly opposes the vaccine mandates for federal workers and contractors, and for large employers. Our legislators regard the mandates requiring vaccinations and testing “as erosions of the freedom and liberty of Idahoans.”

If Biden mandates erode our freedoms and liberty, why did Speaker Bedke and Senate Leader Winder not allow bills to pass that would protect our freedoms and liberty? For example: H414 allowing approval of religious mandates; H417 requiring workers compensation to pay for shot related injuries; H419 prohibiting employers from requiring proof of vaccination status.

Our District 7 representative, Priscilla Giddings introduced a bill to restore parent’s ability to make medical decisions for a child. Currently, minors as young as 14 may get the shot without parental consent.

Representative Fred Wood (Health and Welfare committee) and Speaker Bedke refused to give the legislation a public hearing. Contrast our “conservative” leadership with that of Republican Florida Governor De Santis or Democrat Governor Laura Kelly of Kansas. Both governors have Republican legislatures; both have signed multiple pieces of legislation stopping mandates; both rescinded their declared “state of emergency.” Whatever happens regarding Covid, mandates will stand in Idaho because we are still operating under a “state of emergency.” The legislature cannot call itself back into session. Governor Little is free to spend relief dollars as he sees fit without going through the legislative process.

As one who watched the three-day legislative session, I am dismayed that one of our legislators actually said “if you don’t like the company and you don’t like its policy, go work somewhere else.” In response to a claim for having the right to not get vaccinated, he replied “I have the right not to be infected by somebody that has a communicable disease.” Ultimately, no bills were passed to keep the mandates from taking effect or to actually stop their enforcement or to protect medical privacy. Why are Idaho state officials suing President Biden to block his vaccine mandates yet doing nothing to counteract them when opportunity arises? Obviously, it is the potential loss of dollars from Washington D.C.! Who is listening to all voices and protecting all Idaho citizens? We need new leadership!

Pat Baxter

Orofino

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