Buzz topics for week seven of Idaho’s 2020 Legislative Session include state constitutional amendments, abortion, family, taxes, and more.
Read below to learn more about some of the noteworthy bills and resolutions that presented or discussed this week in Boise!
State Constitutional Amendments
This week two different proposals to amend the State Constitution have progressed in the House. One, sponsored by Speaker of the House Scott Bedke and other legislators, would permanently set the number of legislative districts in Idaho at 35. Currently, the Idaho Constitution allows between 30-35 districts and for the last 30 years there have been 35 districts. This amendment proposal passed by the required two-thirds vote needed in the House to proceed in the legislative process and will be sent to the Senate where it will need another two-thirds vote to proceed to the next step of being presented to Idahoans on the ballot.
The other amendment proposal, sponsored by Representative Gannon and other legislators, would allow property taxes to be collected on land owned by a government entity if it has been leased to a private entity. It passed out of committee and will be voted on the House floor next.
Senate Bill 1249, an act to create a specialty “Choose Life” license plate which includes the image of a man holding an infant, passed out of the House Transportation and Defense Committee this week. This bill was sponsored by Senator Bayer and had previously passed a Senate Committee and the Senate floor. When an individual is purchasing a license plate this bill would add the option of the Choose Life license plate, and some of the cost of the plate would be donated to the non-profit Choose Life Idaho and the Pregnancy Centers they support.
As a forward step in the movement to end abortions in Idaho, Representatives Zollinger and Zito introduced House Bill 525 this week. This bill prohibits public money from being given to any individual or organization who provides abortions (except in instances that federal law mandates the funding). It has been printed and sent to the House State Affairs Committee.
A bill introduced by Senator Buckner-Webb, Senate Bill 1275, which would have required insurance companies to offer contraceptives for a minimum of six months at a time, was killed on the Senate floor on Monday.
Defend the Family
The Idaho Vital Statistics Act, also known as House Bill 509, which was recently introduced by Representative Young, was passed in the State Affairs Committee on Friday morning this week. This legislation prohibits the changing of information on a birth certificate. This includes the sex that is listed, which under current law can be amended to match a person’s gender identity.
Representative Vander Woude introduced House Bill 519 this week, also known as Simon’s Law, and it was sent to the House Health and Welfare Committee. This bill protects and reinforces parental rights in health care by requiring that a doctor who orders to end life-sustaining treatment to a child must notify parents of this intent 48 hours before the order is fulfilled.
House Bill 522, introduced by Representative Young, requires that companies who contract with schools to provide online education materials for minors be prohibited from including obscene and other harmful materials as a part of that contract. This bill was introduced this week and sent to the Education Committee.
Child Protective Services was the center of a few different bills this week. One of those was House Bill 455 by Representative Scott, which removes the misdemeanor penalty for individuals who suspect circumstances of child abuse and do not report it. Currently, Idaho has a mandatory reporting law for child abuse and, even if this law is passed, mandatory reporting will stay in effect for professionals who work with children. This bill passed out of the House Judiciary and Rules Committee this week.
Tax and Business
House Bill 494, by Speaker Bedke and other legislators, passed out of the House Revenue and Tax Committee early this week. This bill would increase the grocery tax credit each individual would qualify for when filing their taxes.
House Bill 515, by Representative Monks, would add regulations and restrictions to medical debt collection agencies. It requires that these debt collectors send notices of billing at certain times, and establishes reasonable fees and expenses for debt collecting services. This bill passed out of the Business Committee this week.
After reading this, do you have any questions? If so, we encourage you to use our “Contact Your Representatives” tool to send an email to your state elected officials with any questions, concerns, or even to express your appreciation.
We hope you will join us in the watchful care of the privileges we enjoy as citizens of this great state and nation.
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.