Idaho Dispatch

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5 Republicans Vote Against Veto Override of Bill Limiting Governor’s Powers

By • April 20, 2021

Senate Bill 1136aa was one of two bills that Governor Brad Little vetoed last Friday.

The governor held a press conference and had several former Idaho governors express their support for his decision to veto the two bills. He asked that the Idaho legislature not override the two bills.

SB 1136aa was the first of the two bills that the legislature attempted to override. Because SB 1136aa is a Senate bill, it was the Senate that had to vote on the measure first to try and override Little’s veto.

However, the Senate came up one vote shy of an override after a 23-12 vote which required two-thirds of the body to vote in favor of the override.

When SB 1136aa originally passed the vote was along party lines. 28 Republicans voted in favor of it and 7 Republicans had voted against it.

For the veto override vote though, five Republicans changed their original votes and sided with Little in not supporting the override vote.

The five Republicans who changed their votes were: Sen. Patti Anne Lodge (R-Caldwell), Sen. Fred Martin (R-Boise), Sen. Jim Guthrie (R-McCammon), Sen. Jim Patrick (R-Twin Falls), and Sen. Jim Woodward (R-Sagle).

On the Senate floor, Sen. Kelly Anthon (R-Burley) who was the bill sponsor requested that only five minutes be given for debate against the bill and that he would debate for five minutes in favor of the bill.

The Senator who stood in opposition to the bill was Sen. Grant Burgoyne (D-Boise).

Burgoyne spent the majority of the opposition’s five minutes reading various portions of Little’s veto override letter. You can read Little’s veto letter here.

Anthon then gave his closing statement and took several minutes to explain why an override should happen.

Here is some of what Anthon said during his debate:

Consistent with the philosophy of the majority of this body, this particular piece of legislation takes the position that that response should have the lightest touch in governmental powers. We don’t believe, as Idahoans, that any one individual should have unlimited power, whether there’s an emergency or not.

Anthon then asked the body to vote in favor of the measure which ultimately did not pass.

Here is what SB 1136aa listed as the “Statement of Purpose:”

This legislation is a revision to Title 46, Chapter 6 Idaho Code clarifying and limiting the powers of the governor during episodes of extreme emergency. It provides limitations on the amount of time a governor may maintain a declaration of extreme peril without concurrence by the legislature, protects Idaho workers as essential, reaffirms the legislature’s authority to end emergency declarations and/or emergency regulations, prevents the suspension of the right to peaceable assemble and free exercise of religion, protects Idahoans’ right to bear arms during emergencies, and prohibits a governor from unilaterally altering or suspending Idaho Code.

Do you think the override should have occurred or did the Senate do the right thing by not overriding the veto?

Let us know in the comments below.

Tags: Brad Little, Fred Martin, Jim Guthrie, Jim Patrick, Jim Woodward, Kelly Anthon, Patti Anne Lodge, SB 1136aa