Idaho Gov. Brad Little (R) on Friday repealed an executive order overriding local mask mandates, blasting his Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin (R) for issuing the order in his absence.
“The action that took place was an irresponsible, self-serving political stunt,” Little said in a statement.
The governor accused McGeachin’s order of usurping legislative powers with an “over-the-top executive action” that “amounts to tyranny.” His repeal order aims to “restore local control” over public health ordinances, permitting Idaho localities to impose mask mandates, including for children, if they deem it necessary to protect public health.
Idaho never adopted a statewide mask mandate because Little believed a top-down order from the state government would violate conservative principles respecting local government.
Earlier this week, Little was out of state to attend a meeting of the Republican Governors Association in Nashville, Tennessee. Idaho law elevates the lieutenant governor to serve as acting governor with all the governor’s powers “in case of temporary inability to perform his duties or in the case of his temporary absence from the state.”
While he was away, McGeachin used her temporary authority to issue the executive order banning local governments from implementing mask mandates.
McGeachin announced last week that she will run in the Republican primary for governor. She did not notify Little, her primary opponent, of her intention to issue the order.
“Taking the earliest opportunity to act solitarily on a highly politicized, polarizing issue without conferring with local jurisdictions, legislators and the sitting governor is, simply put, an abuse of power,” Little said, blasting McGeachin. “This kind of over-the-top executive action amounts to tyranny — something we all oppose.”
Little accused McGeachin’s order of violating Idaho state law, which provides that school district trustees, cities, counties, and public health districts have the power to enact policies to protect pubic health. The law also prohibits executive orders from changing state law.
“How ironic that the action comes from a person who has groused about tyranny, executive overreach, and balance of power for months,” Little said.
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Original article posted by Christ Pandolfo at The Blaze. Title changed by Montana Daily Gazette.