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Idaho’s Lt. Gov goes rogue to ‘fix’ governor’s vaccine executive order while boss is away; Gov. Little vows to rescind

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Idaho’s Lt. Gov Janice McGeachin is going rogue again.

In her capacity as acting governor while the state’s chief executive Brad Little is in Texas, McGeachin “fixed” Little’s prior executive order on vaccine passports by making sure vaccines won’t be required in educational institutions.

Both officials are Republicans but, unlike in most states, run for office separately rather than on the same ticket, and have not seen eye to eye on several issues.

“Today, as Acting Governor, I fixed Gov. Little’s Executive Order on ‘vaccine passports’ to make sure that K-12 schools and universities cannot require vaccinations OR require mandatory testing. I will continue to fight for your individual Liberty!,” McGeachin announced in a tweet along with an image of the order itself. 

Little’s prior order, which was issued in April, banned so-called vaccine passports and proof of COVID-19 vaccination at any government facilities in the state.

 

Soon after Little left the state, the lieutenant governor issued the executive order which banned schools and universities in Idaho from requiring proof of vaccination or coronavirus testing.

Little, who is serving his first term as Idaho’s governor and is seeking reelection in 2022, quickly announced, however, that he would rescind and reverse any actions that McGeachin took in his absence upon his return to Idaho.

McGeachin has already announced that she is going to primary Little who had served as lieutenant governor prior to winning the state’s top job in 2018.

“I am in Texas performing my duties as the duly elected Governor of Idaho, and I have not authorized the Lt. Governor to act on my behalf,” the governor said in a statement on Tuesday. “I will be rescinding and reversing any actions taken by the Lt. Governor when I return.”

While Little was away, McGeachin also reportedly tried to send Idaho National Guard troops to the U.S-Mexican border, but Maj. Gen. Michael Garshak, the official in charge, had other thoughts.

“I am unaware of any request for Idaho National Guard assistance under the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC) from Texas or Arizona. As you are aware, the Idaho National Guard is not a law enforcement agency,”  he wrote to the lieutenant governor.

Earlier this year, Little sent some state troopers to the border to assist in drug interdiction, but insists that “attempting to deploy our National Guard for political grandstanding is an affront to the Idaho constitution and insults the men and women who have dedicated their life to serving our state and the country.”

Little happens to be in Texas meeting with nine other Republican governors about the crisis at the border and is due back in Idaho Wednesday, so McGeachin’s K-12 and college vaccine passport prohibition appears to be short-lived before the ink is hardly dry.

In any event, several Republican officials in the state have blasted her for what they consider a political stunt.

Idaho House Speaker Scott Bedke (who is a candidate for McGeachin’s current job and also called her out for grandstanding) “hinted he would be reconvening the Legislature to deny President Joe Biden’s recent order requiring large businesses to vaccinate their employees, once agreement is reached by legislative leaders,” the Idaho Statesman reported.

In May 2021 while Little was out of town at the Republican Governors Association conference in Nashville, McGeachin issued an executive order banning mask mandates throughout the state.

Little reversed that, too. While Little never issued a mask mandate for the state, he disagreed with taking away the choice from local health officials.

Along with a number of anti-lockdown lawmakers, Lt. Gov. McGeachin memorably appeared in a pro-freedom ad last year around election time with a Bible and a firearm in hand.

Robert Jonathan

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