Speaker Bedke Blinks on Reconvening Legislature
This week, Idaho Speaker of the House Scott Bedke sent a letter to his colleagues outlining his conditions for calling the legislature back into session. Despite the pleas from multiple Idahoans, Bedke had held his ground, refusing to bring the chamber back into session. The catalyst for reconvening the legislature is the move by numerous health care providers dictating that workers will be vaccinated or terminated. The speaker's position and the governor were that government should not be involved in private businesses. Micron, one of the largest employers in the state, has announced that their workers will be fired if they're not vaccinated by a November date.
President Biden declared that he would order employers who have more than one hundred employees to get vaccinated or be fired. So much for the presidential carrot? Governor Little responded that he's considering taking Biden to court. He issues this statement in a recent release:
"The State of Idaho is exploring legal action to stop President Biden's unprecedented government overreach into the private sector with his new COVID-19 plan. I am working closely with my legal counsel and Attorney General Lawrence Wasden on legal options to protect the rights of business owners and their employees.
I have been consistent that government should stay out of decisions involving employers and their employees as much as possible. I've advocated for and championed fewer government regulations and mandates on business.
I am also deeply concerned with the president's tone in his message to the American people with his new plan. It is wrong for President Biden to dismiss the concerns of millions of Americans and tell governors who represent Americans that he will use his powers as president to get them out of the way. This is not leadership. When President Biden took office, he promised to do his best to unify our country, and he has only driven us further apart. President Biden is out of touch, and his mandates only add to the divisiveness within our country.
I still urge Idahoans to choose to receive the safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine and other ways to protect themselves and others from COVID-19 so our kids can stay in school and for the continued health and prosperity of the people of Idaho."
I don't know if it's consistent of the governor to go after the president when he refused to help Idahoans who are facing the same mandatory vaccination threat. The issue of forced vaccinations was brought up during Idaho's most extended legislative session this year. Several bills failed to make it to the floor due to leadership decisions reporting those bills' sponsors.
So why would Speaker Bedke offer a hint of addressing this issue? We heard that two of the Take A Stand Now group organizers drove for over four hours to speak to Bedke. We don't know what was discussed during that meeting this week. Then there are the emergency crisis standards of care that Northern Idaho hospitals are currently following. ABC News reported that burnout and a lack of human resources are causing the ICU facilities to be overrun throughout the state. (It's never good when ABC News leads with how our hospitals are struggling during the A block of Good Morning America and World News Tonight.)
Here is the letter Bedke wrote to his fellow legislators:
I appreciate your concern about whether or not the state legislature should reconvene to address the issues around vaccinations and whether or not private businesses should be allowed to require vaccinations as a term of employment.
First, I believe that the decision of whether to get a COVID vaccination, or any other vaccination or medical procedure, is a decision that should be made by each individual, in close consultation with his or her medical provider. It is my understanding that all the businesses requiring vaccines are offering medical exemptions; that only increases the importance of people working with their medical providers to determine if the vaccine is right for them.
Recent polling shows that Idahoans are very reluctant to have and, by wide margins, do not support increased government involvement in the operation of private businesses if at all avoidable. I am troubled by the prospect of injecting government control into the private sector if a better solution is available. I cannot support going into session with an open-ended agenda regarding vaccines or any other topic that would unnecessarily subject people to government regulation.
Having said that, if there were a narrow piece of legislation that enjoyed the unequivocal support of at least 36 members of the House AND the unequivocal support of at least 18 members of the Senate, I would coordinate with the President Pro Tempore to bring the entire legislature into session to address a mutually supported draft bill. Anything else would be an unacceptable waste of taxpayer money.
As you can see, the speaker has written his list of demands in the letter above. Considering we now have MSNBC attacking our healthcare system, it's time for the legislature to come back home to help solve this crisis.