Bill Description: Senate Bill 1003 renames and redefines extreme emergencies and limits the governor's power during such times.
Analyst Note: Senate Bill 1003 is one of several pieces of legislation introduced during the 2021 session to change how emergency situations are handled and to shift power from the executive branch to the legislative branch during such times.
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?
Senate Bill 1003 amends Section 46-601, Idaho Code, to make numerous changes starting with renaming "extreme emergencies" to "extreme peril" and making several definitional changes to clarify that a "state of extreme peril" is caused by human action, not natural disasters. This change reduces the number of the circumstances under which an "extreme emergency" (now defined as a state of extreme peril) can be declared.
Senate Bill 1003 amends Section 46-601, Idaho Code, to limit the reasons for which the governor may promulgate, issue, and enforce rules and orders during a state of extreme peril. Existing code allows the governor to do so for any reason "he considers necessary for the protection of life and property."
Senate Bill 1003 limits the promulgation, issuance, and enforcement to "written rules and orders necessary to support the national guard or organized militia and that he [the governor] considers essential to protect life and property from the occurrence or imminent threat of the state of extreme peril."
The new language goes on to say, "Such rules and orders must not restrict the right of Idahoans to work, provide for their families, and otherwise contribute to the economy of Idaho."
Senate Bill 1003 amends Section 46-601, Idaho Code, to limit the length of a "state of extreme peril" to no longer than 30 days and explicitly states, "The governor may not circumvent the thirty (30) day limitation by redeclaring successive states of extreme peril in the absence of an extension by the legislature."
Senate Bill 1003 amends Section 46-601, Idaho Code, to grant the Legislature expanded power to "modify, terminate, or extend the state of extreme peril" and to "extend the state of extreme peril for any number of days." The exercise of these powers is contingent on the Legislature being in a regular or extraordinary session.
While shifting emergency power from the executive branch to the legislative branch may be a net positive, allowing a state of extreme peril to be extended for any number of days still represents a concerning open-ended grant of expanded state power over the lives and property of individuals. Amending this line to say "for up to 60 days" or even for a longer but still defined period would be a significant improvement.
Senate Bill 1003 amends Section 46-601, Idaho Code, to clarify that protections related to the right to keep and bear arms, which apply during a state of extreme peril, also apply to firearm and ammunition manufacturers. Additionally, it declares that a state of extreme peril cannot be used as a pretext to "limit or suspend any rights guaranteed by the United States constitution or constitution of the state of Idaho, including but not limited to the right to assemble for worship."
It also clarifies "During any state of extreme peril, the governor may not alter, adjust, or suspend any provision of the Idaho Code."