BOISE, Idaho — Some Idaho lawmakers have issued a joint statement saying they are against mandatory COVID-19 vaccines for employees.
State senators and representatives of Districts 12 and 13, representing the Nampa area, sent the statement Monday.
The following people are of Districts 12 and 13:
- Sen. Todd Lakey (District 12)
- Rep. Rick Youngblood (District 12)
- Rep. Bruce D. Skaug (District 12)
- Sen. Jeff Agenbroad (District 13)
- Rep. Brent Crane (District 13)
- Rep. Ben Adams (District 13)
In the statement, they said, "we believe the right to refuse invasive medical procedures, including vaccinations, is paramount to the interests of the employers, employees, and freedoms of the individual in almost all situations."
Last week, three of Idaho's health care systems said they would require all of their employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19. Exemptions are available for religious or health reasons.
“I'm not supportive of mandatory vaccines,” Rep. Ben Adams told Idaho News 6.
According to Rep. Brent Crane (R) Nampa, he feels Idahoans, specifically frontline health care workers, should have the right to choose to forgo a vaccine without losing their job.
“That is not the Idaho way. That is not the way employers should be treating their employees,” Crane said.
“The reason the house did not go Sine Die was for situations like this wherefrom our perspective and a lot of people we represent, it's an egregious violation of their personal rights,” Adams said.
During the 2021 legislative session, Gov. Brad Little signed an executive order preventing state agencies from requiring vaccines, but not private companies.
Speaker of the House Scott Bedke says while the Idaho Legislature could go back in session, it's not probable at this time as there need to be phone calls and research done before anything happens to make sure things are done correctly.
“We had no idea health organizations would say you're going to get the vaccine if not, you're going to lose your job. As legislators, we like to get in and deal with complex problems and this is a complex problem. We’re up for the task and we can deal with it. I'm confident we can come up with a solution that works for both sides," Crane said.
Idaho is a "work at will" state, meaning the government does not get involved in the relationship between the employers and the employees.