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Idaho lawmakers meet to take on federal vaccine requirements


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BOISE (AP) — Idaho lawmakers in a first-ever move in state history called themselves back into session Monday to reconvene the Legislature after more than five months off to put forward about three three dozen bills dealing with COVID-19 vaccine and mask requirements.

The House never formally adjourned and came back at the request of Republican House Speaker Scott Bedke. The Senate, though it did adjourn in May, also showed up.

Normally, only the governor can summon lawmakers after they leave the Statehouse after adjourning. The Idaho attorney general’s office says the Legislature reconvening is likely legal, but it’s unprecedented and a court could decide otherwise, making any laws passed null.

The bills that appear to have the most support involve fighting President Joe Biden’s vaccine requirements. One would create a fund containing $2 million and allow the Legislature to fight Biden in court.

Another would add medical, religious, philosophical, and natural immunity exemptions to vaccine requirements.

There appears to be some overlap in some of the bills, and nine got assigned to the House Health and Welfare Committee. But the committee’s chairman was not at the Statehouse on Monday, meaning those bills won’t get a hearing and are probably dead.