Idaho Dispatch

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No Bills Pass, One Memorial Passes as Idaho Special Legislative Session Ends

By • November 17, 2021

The Idaho Special Legislative Session has concluded, and the legislature will not be back until January for the 2022 regular legislative session.

While several bills did make it through the Idaho House, those bills were stalled in the Senate State Affairs Committee. The Senate did not pass any bills through their side of the chamber.

What did pass through both chambers was a “Joint Memorial” of the legislature opposing President Joe Biden’s vaccine mandate. Memorials, however, are not law and are usually meant as a show of legislative support for or against a particular issue.

The bills that did make it to the Senate were held in the Senate State Affairs Committee by Chairman Patti Anne Lodge (R-11). Below are the three bills that were heard in Lodge’s committee earlier today.

House Bill 414 was sponsored by Rep. Mike Moyle (R-14) and cleared the House on a vote of 46-24, with some Republicans joining Democrats in opposing the measure. Here is what the bill would have done as listed by the Statement of Purpose:

The ability to claim an exemption based on religious beliefs is supported in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which permits an employee to request a religious or reasonable accommodation from an employer requirement that conflicts with their sincerely-held religious beliefs, practices, or observances. While the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which enforces this federal law, recommends that an employer should assume an employee’s stated religious belief is sincere, the EEOC does allow an employer to ask additional questions if the employer has an objective basis for questioning the sincerity of the employee’s religious belief.

This bill adds to the Idaho Human Rights Act, which is the Idaho version of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, to prohibit the government, employer or any other entity from questioning or requesting additional information from an employee who claims a religious exemption to an otherwise required medical treatment.

House Bill 417 was sponsored by Rep. Jason Monks (R-22) and cleared the House on a vote of 67-3, with two Democrats and one Republican opposing the measure. Here is what the bill would have done as listed by the Statement of Purpose:

This legislation clarifies that injuries arising from employer-mandated vaccinations shall be compensable under the Idaho workers compensation laws of Idaho.

Finally, House Bill 419 was sponsored by Rep. Ron Mendive (R-3) and cleared the House on a vote of 41-27. Here is what HB 419 would have done according to the Statement of Purpose:

This legislation simply creates a “don’t ask don’t tell” policy concerning Covid-19 vaccination status to prevent Idaho citizens from being terminated from their employment as a result of their personal decisions regarding this vaccination.

What did end up passing was Senate Joint Memorial 105. That memorial was sponsored by Senator Chuck Winder (R-20), cleared the Senate on a voice vote, and cleared the House on a 58-8. Here is what the Statement of Purpose says about the memorial:

This joint memorial notifies the Biden Administration that the Idaho Legislature strongly opposes vaccine mandates for federal workers and contractors, as well as proposed requirements for large employers and health care employers to require vaccination and testing.

Idaho Dispatch will have more coverage on the Special Legislative Session with reactions by lawmakers in a future article.

What did you think of the session? Were you happy or frustrated with what happened?

Let us know in the comments below!

Tags: HB 154, HB 414, HB 417, HB 419, Idaho Special Session, Jason Monks, Mike Moyle, Patti Anne Lodge, Ron Mendive, Senate Joint Memorial 105