Idaho Lt. Governor, acting as governor, issues executive order banning mask mandates

Lt. Gov. Janice Mcgeachin Announces Run For Idaho Governor
John Roark

Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin announces she will run for Idaho Governor at the Downtown Event Center in Idaho Falls, Idaho on Wednesday, May 19, 2021.

BOISE, Idaho — Lieutenant Governor Janice McGeachin, acting as governor, has issued an executive order banning mask mandates at Idaho government entities, including public schools. 

McGeachin tweeted about the executive order Thursday, saying she signed it to “protect the rights and liberties of individuals and businesses by prohibiting the state and its political subdivisions — including public schools — from imposing mask mandates.” 

McGeachin was able to sign the executive order as Governor Brad Little was out of town at a conference with other Republican governors. 

“Governor Little has been out of state this week collaborating with other Republican governors, and the Lt. Governor did not make Governor Little aware of her executive order ahead of time,” Little’s Press Secretary Marissa Morrison Hyer said in a statement to 4 News Now. “He is expected to return to Idaho tonight.”

Morrison Hyer said the Governor’s Office is reviewing McGeachin’s executive order and added that Little has never put a statewide mask mandate in place. 

“Throughout the pandemic, Governor Little has been committed to protecting the health and safety of the people of Idaho and has emphasized the importance of Idahoans choosing to protect our neighbors and loved ones and keeping our economy and schools open. Idahoans value local control and the local approach to addressing important issues,” Morrison Hyer said. 

An expanded statement from Little’s Office on the executive order will be made available at a later time. 

Melissa Davlin, a reporter with Idaho Reports, confirmed with the Secretary of State’s Office that the order went into effect at 10 a.m. PST.