Closing prayer

Fifteen Idaho GOP House members gather for a closing prayer after an hour-plus gathering in the House chamber on Tuesday, June 23, 2020, to decry GOP Gov. Brad Little’s COVID-19 response.

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Fifteen House Republicans gathered in the House chamber on Tuesday morning, but despite calls from far-right groups, they didn’t take any votes or attempt to conduct any legislative business. “This is not a session of the Legislature,” Rep. Judy Boyle, R-Midvale, told the group, as they assembled in the well of the House, seated in a tight circle. “We do not have a quorum.”

A boisterous crowd of more than 200 supporters, many of them armed, filled the 4th floor public galleries to watch and cheer on the lawmakers, who aired grievances against GOP Gov. Brad Little and his handling of the coronavirus pandemic, and read a multi-page “proclamation” that Boyle had posted on Twitter the night before, listing a series of allegations about the governor’s actions, charging that he's violated the state's separation of powers provisions in his COVID-19 response actions.

Boyle, a sixth-term Republican who chairs the House Agriculture Committee, held up her proclamation and said, “This is definitely how I feel.”

She said lawmakers haven’t had a chance to weigh in on the governor’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, including changes to the May primary election, which went all-absentee because of the pandemic. “We have never had an opportunity to publicly say how we feel,” she said. “He’s usurped our power as an equal branch of this government.”

You can read my full story here at idahopress.com (no paywall on coronavirus stories; access is free, but please consider subscribing!), or pick up Wednesday's print edition of the Idaho Press.

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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