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Coronavirus

Idaho Lieutenant Governor Bans Mask Mandates

BOISE, Idaho — With the governor out of the state, Idaho’s lieutenant governor issued an executive order Thursday banning mask mandates in schools and public buildings, saying the face-covering directives threatened people’s freedom.

Republican Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin is acting governor while Gov. Brad Little is at the Republican Governors Association conference in Nashville, Tennessee. He was expected to return Thursday evening.

Last week, McGeachin announced her run for governor, challenging the first-term incumbent Little. McGeachin is on the far right of the political spectrum in the conservative state, and her order could bolster her support as a candidate for governor.

Little’s office said McGeachin did not make him aware that she planned to issue the executive order. The office didn’t say what Little would do when he returned but it did say residents value local control. Little has never issued a statewide mask mandate, but some counties, cities and schools have. Many have been lifting the mandates as more residents are vaccinated against COVID-19.

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