Masks are back in Idaho, at least for the local governments that want them.
In the latest tiff between them, Lt. Governor Janice McGeachin issued an executive order banning mask mandates while Governor Little was out of town. As soon as he returned, he rescinded it.
The incident is an escalation of tensions as the 2022 race for governor heats up.
Lieutenant Governor Janice McGeachin is challenging Governor Brad Little for his job. McGeachin has repeatedly criticized Little for the way he has run the state during the pandemic, closing schools, businesses and churches.
In Little’s executive order, issued Friday morning, he states that he has opposed statewide mask mandates all along, preferring to let local jurisdictions decide for themselves. He criticizes McGeachin for issuing an executive order while he was at a Republican governors’ meeting in Tennessee. He calls it “an irresponsible, self-serving political stunt.” He continues, “This kind of over-the-top executive action amounts to tyranny.” “How ironic,” he goes on, “that the action comes from a person who has groused about tyranny, executive overreach and balance of power for months.”
He says McGeachin’s executive order conflicts with other laws on the books by “taking away authorities given to the state’s mayors, local school board trustees and others.” And then he says, “This is why you do your homework, Lt. Governor.”
He says his executive order will restore Idaho law to what it was before McGeachin’s executive order, cleaning up a mess, as he puts it.
McGeachin is one of six people, five Republicans and one unaffiliated candidate, challenging Little, also a Republican, for governor.