Published by BOISESTATEPUBLICRADIO.ORG
Summary generated on August 12, 2020
A group of Idaho lawmakers is pushing a bill that would strip the power of public health districts to close schools during an emergency or mandate masks to prevent the spread of disease.
Members of the Education Working Group Monday overwhelmingly voted for the proposal.
Many lawmakers said local school board members should be making these decisions, as opposed to public health district board members.
Those board members are typically made up of county commissioners from the region that makes up a public health district.
Board members from one part of the district can cast a vote that can affect residents in other parts of the district, similar to the Idaho legislature.
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Sen. Steven Thayn was among those who supported the measure.
Polls have consistently shown most Americans support aggressive measures to stop the spread of the coronavirus, including mask mandates.
A handful of legislators pushed back against the proposal - mostly Democrats.
The measure now goes to House and Senate leadership, as well as the governor's office, as part of a package of proposals that could be taken up at this month's special legislative session.
A final decision by Gov. Brad Little on what will be discussed is expected next week.
Member support is what makes local COVID-19 reporting possible.