BOISE, Idaho — Republican Idaho Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin says state lawmakers and Republican Gov. Brad Little are failing citizens by not taking action to prevent employers from requiring employees get the COVID-19 vaccine.
McGeachin at a Thursday news conference at the Statehouse repeated her request from last week to reconvene the Legislature. McGeachin, who is running for governor, also faulted the executive branch without naming Little.
Three large health care providers announced policies last week requiring employees to get COVID-19 vaccinations.
Republican leaders in the House and Senate have been noncommittal about reconvening the Legislature amid competing concerns that government should generally not interfere with the work requirements of private businesses.
The Idaho Joint Democratic Caucus said on Thursday it is opposed to reconvening the legislature.
“COVID cases among health care system staff are rising in recent weeks, just as patient beds are scarce due to a range of illnesses and rapid population growth. Health care systems across the nation are opting to require a vaccine rather than risk rationing health care to patients,” said Asst. House Democratic Leader Lauren Necochea. “When Idahoans take a loved one to a chemotherapy appointment or a medically vulnerable child in for a check-up, they shouldn’t have to run the risk of contracting a dangerous virus in the very place where they seek medical care. Vaccination is the best and only way we are going to truly end this pandemic. It is not only safe but incredibly necessary.”
House Bill 140 was introduced during the legislative session to prevent private and state businesses contracting with the state from requiring any type of vaccination. If the legislature does reconvene, a version of the bill could be brought back.