Lt. Governor Janice McGeachin (R) banned mask mandates in Idaho while Governor Brad Little (R) was attending the Republican Governors Association conference.
While Governor Little was away Lt. Governor McGeachin was acting Governor.
According to Governor Little’s office, they were not made aware that mask mandates were going to be banned.
No mask mandate was ever issued in Idaho — but counties, schools, and cities issued their own.
With the governor out of the state, Idaho’s lieutenant governor issued an executive order Thursday banning mask mandates in schools and public buildings, saying the face-covering directives threatened people’s freedom.
Republican Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin is acting governor while Gov. Brad Little is at the Republican Governors Association conference in Nashville, Tennessee. He was expected to return Thursday evening.
Last week, McGeachin announced her run for governor, challenging the first-term incumbent Little. McGeachin is on the far right of the political spectrum in the conservative state, and her order could bolster her support as a candidate for governor.
This executive order applied to county governments, public universities, schools, and libraries.
It would not apply to federal buildings, hospitals, and healthcare facilities.
When Governor Brad Little returned, he rescinded the executive order.
Governor Little claimed the executive order was an “irresponsible, self-serving political stunt.”
Idaho Gov. Brad Little on Friday issued an executive order repealing a mask mandate prohibition put in place while he was out of the state by the lieutenant governor, describing her actions as a tyrannical abuse of power and an “irresponsible, self-serving political stunt.”
He then sent out this tweet claiming the “flimsy executive order” required him to clean up a mess:
I do not like petty politics. I do not like political stunts over the rule of law. However, the significant consequences of the Lt. Governor’s flimsy executive order require me to clean up a mess.https://t.co/kDbQJ08wsc
— Brad Little (@GovernorLittle) May 28, 2021
Lt Governor McGeachin responded to the rescinding of the order saying that Governor Little “chose to revoke your personal freedom” by rescinding the order.
Yesterday, I signed an Executive Order banning mask mandates in Idaho, including in our public schools. Today, Gov. Little chose to revoke your personal freedom by rescinding my order and imposing mask mandates on thousands of Idaho children. Read my full statement below. #idpol pic.twitter.com/c3Wana5UvU
— Janice McGeachin (@JaniceMcGeachin) May 28, 2021
In late April, the Idaho legislature tried to ban mask mandates, but it died in the Senate:
Legislation approved by lawmakers in the House prohibiting mask mandates by government entities in Idaho won’t get a hearing in the Senate, the powerful chairman of the Senate Health and Welfare Committee said Monday.
Republican Sen. Fred Martin said that the committee is no longer meeting at this late date in the legislative session. He also said he has no plans to call it back to review and debate the mask-mandate ban bill or any other bill.
“We shut down the committee several weeks ago, so we are not hearing any additional bills,” Martin said.
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