House Concurrent Resolution 1 — Disaster declaration ended

House Concurrent Resolution 1 — Disaster declaration ended

by
Parrish Miller
January 18, 2021

Bill Description: HCR001 ends the existing state of disaster emergency in Idaho. 

Rating: +4

Analyst Note: HCR001 is one of several resolutions introduced during the 2021 session to end all or some portion of the existing state of disaster emergency in Idaho. 

HCR001 exercises the statutory authority found in Section 46-1008(2), Idaho Code, to declare, "the state of disaster emergency proclaimed by Brad Little, Governor of the State of Idaho, pursuant to Section 46-1008, Idaho Code, is now ended."

It is beyond the scope of this analysis to outline every primary and secondary infringement on freedom that has been perpetrated under the various emergency orders that have been in effect over the last 300-plus days. Neither can we fully articulate every such infringement enacted by cities, counties, health districts, and school districts who were emboldened and empowered, even if not officially authorized, by these emergency orders. 

While ending the existing emergency order is a positive step as outlined below, this action alone will not provide restoration to those who were harmed by the government's actions. It also will not force the various political subdivisions of the state to repeal the respective orders and regulations they have issued under the pretext of responding to an emergency.

Does it give government any new, additional, or expanded power to prohibit, restrict, or regulate activities in the free market? Conversely, does it eliminate or reduce government intervention in the market?

Ending the existing state of disaster emergency will rescind the "Stage 2" modified emergency order that is now in effect. This rescission will repeal the following mandates that are presently imposed on businesses and individuals in Idaho: 

  • All patrons of bars and restaurants must remain seated while consuming food or drink or when otherwise remaining on the premises, except for when entering, exiting, or using the restroom.
  • Seating in bars and restaurants must be arranged and maintained so that tables are spaced at least six feet apart.
  • Nightclubs may operate as bars only and must comply with the regulations imposed on bars and restaurants.
  • Employers must Develop and implement measures to ensure employees and customers maintain at least six-foot physical distancing from other individuals whenever possible; provide adequate sanitation and personal hygiene for employees, vendors, and patrons; and frequently disinfect commonly touched and high-traffic areas and regularly clean those areas.

(+1)

Does it directly or indirectly create or increase penalties for victimless crimes or non-restorative penalties for nonviolent crimes? Conversely, does it eliminate or decrease penalties for victimless crimes or non-restorative penalties for non-violent crimes?

Ending the existing state of disaster emergency will rescind the "Stage 2" modified emergency order that is now in effect. This rescission will repeal the following mandates that are presently imposed on businesses and individuals in Idaho: 

  • Gatherings of more than 10 people, both public and private, are prohibited.
  • People participating in gatherings of 10 or fewer people, while permitted, must adhere to special physical distancing and sanitation requirements.
  • Individuals not residing within the same household must maintain at least six-foot physical distancing from other individuals whenever possible.
  • Anyone who enters a long-term care facility or campus who is not a resident must wear a face covering that covers their nose and mouth at all times.

As a violation of any of these mandates "may constitute a misdemeanor punishable by fine, imprisonment, or both pursuant to Idaho Code§ 56-1003(7)(c)," ending the state of emergency directly reduces the possibility of being arrested, cited, or penalized for engaging in voluntary and victimless actions. 

(+1)

Does it increase government spending (for objectionable purposes) or debt? Conversely, does it decrease government spending or debt?

Ending the state of emergency without exceptions is likely to reduce the inflow of debt-financed federal dollars into the state of Idaho. As Idaho has a balanced budget requirement, a reduction in the availability of debt-financed federal dollars will result in a corresponding reduction in government spending.

(+1)

Does it violate the spirit or the letter of either the U.S. Constitution or the Idaho Constitution? Examples include restrictions on speech, public assembly, the press, privacy, private property, or firearms. Conversely, does it restore or uphold the protections guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution or the Idaho Constitution?

Beyond the specific mandates that will be terminated by ending the state of emergency, the state will also return to a more normal and republican form of government as guaranteed by the constitution. Restoring the proper balance of power and allowing the Legislature — rather than the executive branch — to make laws is a positive step toward rebuilding our constitutional system of government. 

(+1)

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