Idaho governor signs bills trimming emergency powers and halting Biden’s move on gun laws

FILE PHOTO - Idaho State Capitol in Boise, Idaho

BOISE, Idaho (AP)


Idaho Gov. Brad Little has signed four watered-down versions of previous bills that he vetoed on limiting a governor’s powers during declared emergencies such as the coronavirus pandemic.

The Republican governor signed them Monday and took the rare step of sending transmittal letters to the Legislature that explained his reasoning. Little in the letters wrote that the bills he signed were unlike the bills he vetoed because they do not impair a governor’s ability to protect Idaho residents.

In one of the new laws, emergencies involving 12 or more counties and lasting longer than 90 days would require the involvement of the Legislature.


FILE – This undated file photo provided by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Seattle shows a homemade firearm that federal agents say was recovered on Feb. 6, 2020, from a home in Edmonds, Wash. Idaho Gov. Brad Little signed legislation Monday, May 10, 2021 aimed at thwarting a half-dozen executive actions by President Joe Biden to combat gun violence that include a move to crack down on “ghost guns” — homemade firearms put together from purchased gun parts that lack serial numbers to trace them and are often acquired without background checks. (U.S. Attorney’s Office via AP, File)

Idaho Gov. Brad Little has signed legislation aimed at thwarting a half-dozen executive actions taken by President Joe Biden to combat gun violence.

The Republican governor on Monday signed a bill prohibiting Idaho government entities from upholding Biden’s March executive actions. The orders include a crackdown on ghost guns — homemade firearms that lack serial numbers used to trace them and are often purchased without background checks.

Biden also tightened regulations on pistol-stabilizing braces like the one used in Colorado in a shooting in March that left 10 dead.

The new state law comes just days after a shooting at a middle school injured two students and a custodian.


Idaho will receive $1.1 billion in the latest round of coronavirus relief money in two separate payments that could be used to substantially bolster the state’s water, sewer and broadband infrastructure.

The U.S. Treasury Department on Monday launched a $350 billion program that’s part of President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package that became law in March. Administration officials say payments could begin going out in the coming days.

In addition to the money provided to the state, Idaho’s nine largest cities will get a total of $124 million, while 190 cities with populations of typically less than 50,000 will get $108 million. Counties will get another $314 million.

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