Approved overwhelmingly in a 67-3 vote on Tuesday, House Bill 417 seeks to amend Idaho’s code pertaining to workers’ compensation to “provide that vaccine-related accidents or injuries shall be compensable” by employers or insurers.
“If the employer is telling you, you have to do this in order to work here, if they’re doing that, then, by golly, I think our system ought to provide a fair compensation method,” Democratic Rep. John Gannon said in support of the measure.
— Joe Parris (@KTVBJoe) November 16, 2021
The bill is now destined for the GOP-majority Senate, where it stands a good chance of passing, while Republican Governor Brad Little is expected to sign it into law.
His administration has joined a growing number of states that have brought legal challenges to President Joe Biden’s federal vaccine mandate, which applies to any company with more than 100 employees and will be enforced by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) starting early next year.
Idaho is currently involved in three such lawsuits.
Though the mandate was put on hold by an appeals court last week – with a federal judge issuing a harsh rebuke to the White House, blasting the mandate as “staggeringly overbroad” and an unprecedented use of “extraordinary power” – the Biden team has continued to urge businesses to follow the edict regardless.
Earlier on Tuesday, a Cincinnati-based appeals court was selected by random drawing to preside over future mandate-related lawsuits, after cases were brought across 12 different circuit courts this month alone.
The move could be welcome news for opponents of vaccine requirements, as 11 of the court’s 16 full-time judges were appointed by Republican presidents, according to the Associated Press.