took advantage of the situation.
On Thursday, Idaho
's Republican lieutenant governor
used her power as acting governor to issue an executive order prohibiting the implementation of mask mandates in public places. In a tweet, McGeachin stated that she was concerned about "the rights and liberties of individuals and businesses."
Never mind that a statewide mask mandate, such as one that might have been imposed in response to a coronavirus pandemic
, was never enacted in the first place.
Idaho Gov. Brad Little (R) has been in Nashville, Tennessee
, this week attending the Republican Governors Association
conference, according to his office, and has been gone since Tuesday morning, leaving two other members of his party in charge. First, Chuck Winder, the Senate
president pro tempore, served as governor until 11:30 p.m. Wednesday, when he was succeeded by McGeachin.
“The Lt. Governor did not notify Governor Little of her executive order in advance,” Stardia’s spokesperson Marissa Morrison Hyer said.
Today, as acting Governor of the State of Idaho, I signed an Executive Order prohibiting the state and its political subdivisions, including public schools
, from imposing mask mandates in our state. #idpol pic.twitter.com/Nmb6DX9v6X — Janice McGeachin (@JaniceMcGeachin) May 27, 2021
McGeachin posted photos
of the signed document to Twitter, writing, "Today, as acting Governor of the State of Idaho, I signed an Executive Order to protect the rights and liberties of individuals and businesses by prohibiting the state and its political subdivisions — including public schools — from imposing mask mandates in our state."
Idaho's "political subdivisions" are defined as any "county, city, public health
district, public college, public university, public community college, public technical college, public library, public school school district, special purpose school district, or other district or municipality organized under any general or special law of this state," according to the executive order.
Although cities such as Boise required masks
in public places for much of the pandemic, Idaho never implemented a statewide mask mandate.
With half of all American adults fully vaccinated, and recent changes to CDC
guidance, government-issued mask mandates are fading in places across the country. Boise Mayor Lauren McLean lifted her city's mask mandate in public spaces earlier this month, though she emphasized that individual businesses could still choose to revoke the mandate.
Some members of McGeachin's own party felt that her executive order, which did not apply to individual businesses, went too far.
“What you have here is a solution in search of a problem,” Idaho House
Speaker Scott Bedke (R) told the Idaho Statesman.
According to Morrison Hyer, Little's office is "reviewing" the executive order and intends to issue a more detailed statement.
“Throughout the pandemic, Governor Little has been committed to protecting the health and safety of the people
of Idaho, and has emphasized the importance of Idahoans choosing to protect our neighbors and loved ones, as well as keeping our economy
and schools open,” she said.
The governor is expected to return to the state Thursday evening.