IDAHO POWER STRUGGLE
Idaho Senate starts effort to wrest power from Gov. Little
BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Idaho senators have joined their House colleagues in introducing legislation seeking to wrest power from the governor on emergency declarations like the one dealing with the coronavirus pandemic. Four pieces of Senate legislation brought forward Wednesday aim to increase the authority of the part-time Legislature while limiting the governor’s power. One bill would allow a governor to declare an emergency but prevent them from imposing any restrictions on residents. Lawmakers say they were left out of the decision to impose pandemic restrictions on businesses and residents after Republican Gov. Brad Little declared an emergency in March.
CAPITOL BREACH-IDAHO ARREST
Idaho man arrested in connection with US Capitol riot
BOISE, Idaho (AP) — An Idaho man whose photograph was included on a federal list of those considered “persons of interest” in the Jan. 6 siege of the U.S. Capitol has been jailed in Boise, the Ada County Sheriff’s Office confirmed Tuesday. Ada County Sherriff’s spokesman Patrick Orr says 34-year-old Josiah Colt is being held on a U.S. Marshal’s hold. He turned himself in to the sheriff’s office Tuesday afternoon. Last week, Colt posted video to a social media website acknowledging he was inside the Capitol during a riot by loyalists of President Donald Trump as Congress prepared to certify the results of the election won by President-elect Joe Biden. Five people died in the violence. Colt later apologized for his conduct.
Environmentalists move toward lawsuit over fuel break plan
RENO, Nev. (AP) — Environmentalists have filed a notice of intent to sue the U.S. government to block plans to build up to 11,000 miles of fuel breaks they contend would violate the Endangered Species Act in six western states. Four conservation groups say the Bureau of Land Management’s project would be shielded from legitimate review under last-minute moves by the outgoing Trump administration. The critics say the fuel breaks intended to slow the advance of wildfires are planned in conjunction with widespread clearcutting, herbicide spraying, grazing and prescribed fire. The bureau counters that the project will allow land managers to select the approaches that make sense for their specific communities and landscapes.
Idaho changes vaccine timeline, with more doses now expected
BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Idaho Gov. Brad Little says people 65 and over will be able to get the coronavirus vaccine starting Feb. 1. The Republican governor said Tuesday that he had adopted the recommendation of his COVID-19 Vaccine Advisory Committee. State health officials also on Tuesday announced that they are immediately transitioning from limiting vaccinations to frontline healthcare workers to also vaccinating firefighters, police, K-12 teachers and staff, daycare workers and prison workers. Officials say the change is due to an expected boost in doses coming into the state. The first group of front-line healthcare workers currently getting the vaccine numbers about 130,000. Nearly 40,000 doses of the two-shot vaccine have been administered.
IDAHO POWER STRUGGLE
Lawmakers seek to curb Idaho governor’s emergency authority
BOISE, Idaho (AP) — A power struggle between lawmakers and Republican Gov. Brad Little has begun. Republicans in the House brought forward legislation Tuesday aimed at increasing the part-time Legislature’s authority while limiting the governor’s regarding emergency declarations. The move comes amid lawmakers’ dissatisfaction with being left out of the decision-making process concerning coronavirus restrictions that started last March following Little’s emergency declaration that remains in effect. Lawmakers say the current system is a relic from the Cold War-era that failed this year by concentrating too much power with the governor. One of the pieces of legislation seeks a constitutional amendment allowing lawmakers to call themselves back into session.
Judge rejects lawmakers’ coronavirus control requests
BOISE, Idaho (AP) — A federal judge says he won’t order the Idaho Legislature to require stricter coronavirus precautions while a lawsuit from two lawmakers moves forward. U.S. District Judge David Nye issued a written ruling Tuesday saying that Democratic Reps. Sue Chew of Boise and Muffy Davis of Ketchum didn’t justify the need for a temporary order allowing them to vote remotely or directing the Legislature to take other measures intended to slow the spread of the contagious illness. Meanwhile, disability-rights groups filed another lawsuit against the Legislature on Monday also seeking more coronavirus protections. Legislative leaders don’t require people to wear masks in the Statehouse, and many lawmakers don’t wear masks.