Governor Brad Little’s emergency powers are a Cold War relic.  There was a belief in the late 1950s and early 1960s a nuclear war with the old Soviet Union was a real possibility.  Some of us still remember practicing “Duck and Cover”.  Idaho was likely a target.  In the desert between Idaho Falls and Arco rests Idaho National Laboratory.  A leading research facility in nuclear technology, it would’ve been a juicy target. 

A leading research facility in nuclear technology, it would’ve been a juicy target.

Scott Bedke, Speaker of the Idaho House of Representatives, told Magic Valley This Morning on Newsradio 1310 KLIX there was a serious concern about government continuity.  Surviving legislators would’ve been often isolated from the Capitol and travel would’ve been difficult.  A decision was made to give the Office of Governor sweeping powers out of necessity.

The Cold War faded quickly with the demise of the Soviet Union three decades ago.  The Idaho Governors retained the powers.  Then along came coronavirus early in 2020 and the Governor stepped up and re-ordered daily life in the state.  Many legislators likely felt blindsided.  There were people in local governments who learned of the decree through constituents or telephone calls from news media.  Let’s make clear, Governor Little broke no laws.  He simply used the existing structure.

This week the House moved to take back some of what was ceded during the Cold War.  It should move quickly through both houses and don’t expect a veto from the Governor.  The man has been harangued so much these last ten months he’s probably more than willing to share the public “reaction!”

The change would immediately repeal the emergency.  If it still remains in place.


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