BOISE, Idaho (AP) — A key Republican lawmaker says he won't allow legislation seeking to modify Idaho's faith-healing exemption to be introduced during this year's legislative session.

Senate Health and Welfare Chairman Lee Heider, a Republican from Twin Falls, had previously said he would allow a hearing on modifying the law, which currently allows families to cite religious reasons for medical decisions without fear of being charged with neglect or abuse. The Times-News reports that Heider never received a request for a hearing from the bill's sponsor.

Democratic Rep. John Gannon, of Boise, had been working on the legislation after failing to get a legislative hearing for a similar proposal in 2014. The issue has gained attention over the years awareness has increased over the deaths of numerous children of members of the Followers of Christ group in southwestern Idaho from treatable conditions, including pneumonia and food poisoning. Many children are buried at a cemetery overlooking the Snake River.

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