Idaho Legislative update: Bill to end legal notice requirement in newspapers advances; bills introduced to speed coronavirus vaccinations and limit governor’s powers

Republican Rep. Jon Weber addresses the House State Affairs Committee on Thursday, Feb. 4, 2021, in the Statehouse in Boise, Idaho. The committee approved legislation to end the requirement that government agencies publish legal notices in newspapers. It will now be considered by the full House. (AP Photo/Keith Ridler)

BOISE, Idaho (AP)

LEGAL NOTICE REQUIREMENTS

Legislation to end the requirement that government agencies publish legal notices in newspapers is heading to the full House. The House State Affairs Committee on Thursday approved the measure that would eliminate a source of income for Idaho newspapers.

Republican Rep. Jon Weber sponsored the bill that has appeared in various forms in previous years but ultimately failed. Weber says the bill is needed to save government entities money.

Lawmakers opposed to the measure say it will make finding legal notices difficult to impossible. Legal notices are a form of advertising government entities in Idaho are required to purchase to publicize such things as new laws, construction projects or meetings.

GOVERNOR’S EMERGENCY POWERS

Lawmakers in the Idaho state House are making a third attempt to pass legislation to trim the governor’s powers during an emergency such as a pandemic.

The House State Affairs Committee on Thursday OK’d a possible public hearing for the bill that’s reworked legislation from previous failed attempts this session. Republican Rep. Jason Monks says the state’s current system giving extensive powers to the executive branch is a relic of the Cold War.

His bill is mirrored in the Senate by another bill that advanced Wednesday.

The House bill targets a governor’s authority during natural disasters. The Senate bill targets emergency powers during manmade events, such as a terrorist attack.

CORONAVIRUS VACCINATIONS

Legislation intended to speed up Idaho coronavirus vaccinations that includes a $5,000 fine for businesses that fail to report they’re hanging onto unused doses has been introduced. The House State Affairs Committee on Thursday cleared the way for a public hearing for the bill sponsored by Democratic Rep. John Gannon and Republican Rep. Bruce Skaug.

The bill would require businesses to administer 70% of vaccination doses within two weeks of receiving them. Unused doses would be sent to a different entity that could use them.

Nearly 90,000 Idaho residents have received their first dose of the two-shot vaccine. More than 26,000 have received both doses.

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