Idaho Lt. Governor Widens COVID-19 Vaccine Passport Ban While Governor at US Border

By Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber covers U.S. news and stories relating to the COVID-19 pandemic. He is based in Maryland.
October 6, 2021 Updated: October 6, 2021

Idaho Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin issued an executive order as acting governor on Tuesday widening a ban against so-called COVID-19 vaccine passports in the state.

The Republican took advantage of Gov. Brad Little’s absence and signed the order, which says that implementing proof of vaccination “violates Idahoans’ medical privacy” and “encourages prejudice and discrimination” but some entities within the state “are ignoring these problems and still attempting to implement” the passport systems.

“Today, as Acting Governor, I fixed Gov. Little’s Executive Order on ‘vaccine passports’ to make sure that K-12 schools and universities cannot require vaccinations OR require mandatory testing. I will continue to fight for your individual Liberty!” McGeachin wrote on Twitter.

Little’s order banned requiring proof of vaccination at state facilities but did not include primary schools and made no mention of COVID-19 testing.

Little, also a Republican, went to the U.S.-Mexico border to convene with other governors to address the border crisis and steps they are taking to address it.

Little said in a pair of social media posts that he did not authorize McGeachin to act on his behalf and that he would be reversing any actions she took when he returned to Idaho.

Epoch Times Photo
Idaho Gov. Brad Little speaks at the White House in Washington on July 16, 2020. (Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images)

Little said McGeachin asked the head of the Idaho National Guard to deploy Guard members to the border even before he left the state, a move he described as “political grandstanding.”

Idaho House Speaker Scott Bedke, a Republican, also criticized McGeachin, alleging she was abusing her office to try to win votes in the upcoming gubernatorial election.

Maj. Gen. Michael Garshak, the adjutant general of the Idaho National Guard, meanwhile, replied to McGeachin’s request by saying he was unaware of any request for Idaho National Guard assistance at the border, the Associated Press reported.

McGeachin is challenging Little from the right in the election, which is set for next year.

McGeachin used a similar tactic when Little traveled outside Idaho in May. She signed an order banning mask mandates. But Little reversed it when he returned, asserting local officials should be able to decide whether or not to impose such mandates.

Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber covers U.S. news and stories relating to the COVID-19 pandemic. He is based in Maryland.