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Senate Bill 1104 — Disaster emergency, extend

Senate Bill 1104 — Disaster emergency, extend

Parrish Miller
February 16, 2023

Bill Description: Senate Bill 1104 would require the governor to seek legislative approval to extend a declaration of a 30-day disaster emergency beyond the single 30-day extension permitted by law. 

Rating: +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?

Idaho law says, "no state of disaster emergency may continue for longer than thirty (30) days unless the governor finds that it should be continued for another thirty (30) days or any part thereof."

In recent years, Idaho's executive branch has interpreted this to mean that the governor may issue an unlimited number of 30-day extensions to a state of disaster emergency.

Senate Bill 1104 would attempt to put a stop to this overreach by amending Section 46-1008, Idaho Code, to add the following paragraph: "The governor shall not extend the state of disaster emergency by executive order or proclamation beyond this additional thirty (30) day period unless the governor petitions the legislature with reasonable justification. The legislature may, by concurrent resolution, grant the governor an additional thirty (30) days. Otherwise the state of disaster emergency shall terminate."

This language is no doubt intended to help to prevent a series of successive extensions to a state of disaster emergency. That is a good idea because such emergencies grant extraordinary powers to the governor. But the bill may not prove as effective as its backers intend. It would not prevent the governor from ending one state of disaster emergency and issuing another ostensibly separate one, which would restart the clock. 

This scenario is not mere conjecture, as the governor has used that tactic in recent years.


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