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The Idaho Association of Commerce & Industry, an influential business lobbying group that represents the state's largest businesses, has sent a letter to state lawmakers urging them not to heed Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin's call for a special session of the Legislature to forbid Idaho employers from requiring their employees to get COVID-19 vaccines, as three of the state's largest health care providers announced late last week they'll do by September.

"Our customers and clients depend on our products and services around the globe," the IACI letter says. "Idaho is a worldwide leader in production as proven by the current economy. That has been driven by the fact that Idaho is the least regulated state with a low-tax approach that allows our businesses to succeed."

"Part of that success hinges on various requirements we may choose to place on employees as a condition of employment on our premises or on our behalf," the business group wrote. "That may include things like mandatory drug testing submission, uniforms, medical clearances, masks, ventilators of all types, and, yes, even vaccinations."

The letter touts the safety of the vaccine developed under then-President Trump's "Project Warp Speed," and says, "Unfortunately, erroneous information continues to be pushed by those who would seek political gain at the expense of saving lives. They would even go so far as to create new government regulation on businesses to suit their personal ambitions."

Betsy Z. Russell is the Boise bureau chief and state capitol reporter for the Idaho Press and Adams Publishing Group. Follow her on Twitter at @BetsyZRussell.

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