Senate Concurrent Resolution 101 — Disaster emergency, terminated

Senate Concurrent Resolution 101 — Disaster emergency, terminated

by
Parrish Miller
January 19, 2021

Bill Description: SCR101 partially ends the existing state of disaster emergency in Idaho. 

Rating: +1

Analyst Note: SCR101 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. 

SCR101 exercises the statutory authority found in Section 46-1008(2), Idaho Code, to declare, "The state of disaster emergency relating to the outbreak of novel coronavirus or COVID 19 is declared to be terminated as of the date of passage of this concurrent resolution."

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 that were emboldened and empowered, even if not officially authorized, by these emergency orders. 

While partially 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 orders and regulations that have been 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?

Partially 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?

Partially 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?

Unfortunately, SCR101 does not fully end the state of disaster emergency. Rather, it has a provision that allows the state to continue receiving debt-financed federal dollars. It says, in part, "nothing in this concurrent resolution shall prevent the State of Idaho from receiving any federal funds, benefits, or resources arising out of the state of disaster emergency relating to the outbreak of novel coronavirus or COVID 19. The Governor may make or maintain declarations only to the extent required to continue to receive Federal Emergency Management Agency funding arising out of novel coronavirus or COVID 19 but may not use any such declaration to impose restrictions on the citizens of the State of Idaho."

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

Because SCR101 explicitly allows for making or maintaining declarations in order to receive FEMA funding, it serves to increase debt-financed spending in Idaho. 

(-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?

Ending the state of emergency without exceptions would allow the state to return to a more normal and republican form of government, as guaranteed by the constitution. Failing to end the state of emergency without exceptions continues the pretense that Idahoans should be afraid and that government must remain in an escalated state. While there are certainly benefits to ending the state of emergency only in part, SCR101 fails to acknowledge the truth that there is no emergency in Idaho.

(0)

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