On January 24, 2019, the Idaho House of Representatives introduced House Bill 44 (H0044). This proposed legislation would increase an assessment fee levied against private landowners of forest land. The per acre fee is intended to help fund operating expenses for the Idaho Department of Lands and implementation of regulations like the Shade Rule. The fee is currently $0.10 per acre which is the highest fee allowed under current law. This bill changes the maximum fee to $0.20 per acre, with a recommendation of a $0.03 increase (up to $0.13) for 2019. (Future years could see the feed increased to the full $0.20.)
The controversial nature of this change is indicated by the House vote on February 5, 2019, with 44 representatives in support of raising the fee and 26 representatives voting against the proposed increase. The legislation is currently under review in the Senate Resources & Environment Committee. If approved and recommended by the committee, it may proceed to a full vote of the Idaho Senate.
Madison Liberty Institute’s recommendation: OPPOSE
Sponsor: Idaho Department of Lands
Floor Sponsor: Representative Laurie Lickley (R – Jerome)
Bill status: Senate Resources & Environment Committee (02.06.2019)
Lindsey Zea is a Policy and Research Associate with the Madison Liberty Institute. Lindsey holds a Bachelor’s degree in History from BYU-Idaho and loves finding applications of history to current events and political debates. She also serves as a Policy Analyst with the Better Cities Project (BCP) and formerly interned with the Libertas Institute in Utah.