The motto of the state of New Hampshire is “Live Free or Die.” If the Idaho Legislature approves some of the anti-mask and anti-vaccine measures before it this week, this state’s unwritten motto could become “Live Free and Die.”

Idaho needs guidance and governance, not grandstanding. The legislative session that convened Monday is the latter.

It’s unclear whether the session is legal under the Idaho Constitution. The Senate ended this year’s session last spring, but the House only “adjourned” its own.

This hasn’t stopped lawmakers who are slated to consider dozens of bills to restrict the powers of local government and businesses to help stop the COVID-19 pandemic with mask mandates and vaccine and testing requirements.

Such restrictions would be nothing short of idiotic. Except for a single early lockdown, Gov. Brad Little has left decisions on public health measures up to local government boards and businesses. Consequently, Idahoans are some of the least vaccinated and sickest in the nation.

Idaho Association of Commerce and Industry President Alex LaBeau said that restrictions on businesses would impose “tyrannical practices on the free market.”

We would take that thought a step further. Leaving decisions on masks and vaccines solely to individuals and disdaining the power of local government bodies and businesses to do so will perpetuate the tyranny of the unvaccinated and the unmasked.

Idahoans are already suffering from the tyranny of the 44% of unvaccinated individuals that has jammed hospitals with mostly unvaccinated COVID patients, denied medical care to people with other conditions and left the door open for emergence of another deadly COVID variant.

Idahoans should call their legislators and tell them to stop and go home. It’s already dangerous enough in this state without them making it worse.


“Our View” represents the opinion of the newspaper editorial board, which is made up of members of its board of directors. Remarks may be directed to editorialboard@mtexpress.com.

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