District 5 Representatives Talk Balancing Emergency Powers in Legislative Session

“I think the highest priority in this session is to balance the powers of government in Idaho,” Representative Brandon Mitchell said in an email. 

Rep. Mitchell added, “Here in District 5, we are seeing completely different things than what our Governor is seeing in Boise.”

Brandon Mitchell was elected in November to the Idaho House of Representatives for District 5A.

Representative Caroline Nilsson Troy won reelection in November for District 5B.

Both representatives said they intend to work with the legislators to create more emergency criteria. 

Brandon Mitchell was elected in November.
Representative Caroline Nilsson Troy won reelection in November.

Rep. Troy said, “Our current laws have worked effectively in the past, because the “emergencies” in Idaho were of short duration – fires, floods, ice storms. The ongoing nature of this has uncovered many flaws in our laws, and we will be fixing them.” 

Rep. Mitchell also touched on the lack of guidelines, saying, “There are rules in place for a natural disaster and for acts of war, but nothing specific for a pandemic.”

One major focus for both Representatives is ensuring that the checks and balances of Idaho state government are upheld. 

Rep. Troy highlighted the lack of oversight, saying, “We [legislators] haven’t had much say in how the PPP and other federal funds are used to support businesses, or in policies regarding the “staged” reopening.” PPP is the Paycheck Protection Program, which provides federal loans to small businesses. 

Idaho has received 1.25 Billion in federal aid. 

Rep. Troy commented on the current session, saying, “There will be a concerted effort in the upcoming legislative session to limit the Governor’s authority to call and continue emergency orders on an ongoing basis.”

Rep. Troy also hopes to vote to extend bill HOOO6 through the summer of 2021, in order to continue providing limited immunity for reopened churches, small businesses, and schools from being sued for Coronavirus related reasons. 

Rep. Mitchell said he would also like to focus on voter issues in Idaho. He said, “Given the national scene on the voter’s integrity, I would like to work on solidifying our state voter’s laws so our election process is legal and above scrutiny.”  

Rep. Troy said she also hopes to introduce legislation legalizing the farming of industrial hemp, saying, “Despite the risks and expense – we know that giving Idaho farmers and entrepreneurs the ability to produce and process hemp is worth it.” 

District 5 Senator David Nelson did not respond to inquiries for this piece.

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