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‘Listening to experts is elitist’: Idaho Republicans move to strip power from public health officials

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State Sen. Steven Thayne

Idaho lawmakers are moving to strip the authority of public health districts to close schools in emergencies or require masks for safety reasons.

The legislature’s Education Working Group voted overwhelmingly in favor of the proposal to take away power from “elitist” public health officials and allow school boards to make those health-related decisions, reported Boise State Public Radio.

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“We’re letting a few fearful people control the lives of those of us who are not fearful,” said Sen. Steven Thayn (R-Emmett).

“Listening to experts to set policy is an elitist approach, and I’m very fearful of an elitist approach,” Thayn added. “I’m also fearful that it leads to totalitarianism, especially when you say, ‘Well, we’re doing it for the public good.’”

The measure was proposed by state Rep. Ryan Kerby (R-New Plymouth), a former school superintendent, and opposed by the working group’s Democratic minority.

“This isn’t sacrificing individual liberty,” said state Rep. Steve Berch (D-West Boise). “This is balancing the governance process with protecting the larger community.”

The measure will now go to House and Senate leadership, and Republican Gov. Brad Little, for consideration at this month’s special legislative session.

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Idaho has surpassed more than 25,000 COVID-19 infections, with 239 deaths as of Monday.


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2020 Election

Trump lies about the election being ‘rigged’ — but says he will leave the White House

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President Donald Trump said Thursday that he would leave the White House if Joe Biden is officially confirmed the winner of the US election, making a further concession of defeat even as he railed against the "rigged" vote.

Trump has made an unprecedented attempt to defy the results of the election by refusing to concede, spreading wild theories about stolen ballots and launching baseless legal challenges that have been thrown out by courts across the country.

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Idaho columnist offers intriguing theories for the ‘anti-mask mandate mania’ from Republicans

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Masks that cover the mouth and nose have proven to be one of the most effective ways of containing the COVID-19 pandemic.

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"Idaho Senate Republicans are setting up their agenda for the upcoming 2021 legislative session. As reported in the Post Register, one of their top priorities is to 'pursue measures in January to limit the governor’s emergency powers.' The immediate reason for this, of course, is Gov. Little’s anti-coronavirus measures," columnist Mike Murphy wrote in the Idaho State Journal.

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2020 Election

Jake Tapper has a hard truth for Trump after Thanksgiving outburst inside the White House

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