2021 Legislative Update: Week 2

EMERGENCY POWERS

Update: House Bill 1, introduced by Representative Jason Monks, had a few changes to the original bill and was introduced under a new bill number, House Bill 16. This bill would limit the power of the Governor to restrict a person’s ability to work or attend religious meetings during a state of emergency, as well as restore the balance between the branches of state government. Lastly, it would limit the time of a state of emergency to 30 days, after which the legislature would be required to approve an extension.

Update: House Concurrent Resolution 2, introduced by Representative Barbara Ehardt and Representative Brent Crane, passed out of the House State Affairs Committee this week and is expected to be voted on by the full House on Monday, January 25, 2021. The bill calls for the end of restrictions on the size of gatherings in Idaho.  The Governor’s current limit of 10 people at a gathering is ordered to be removed.  This would allow for, among other things, participation and attendance for school sports.

Update: Senate Concurrent Resolution 1, introduced by Senator Chuck Winder, would immediately end all restrictions resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.  The only restrictions that would remain in place would be those necessary to maintain federal emergency funding. This bill passed out of the Senate State Affairs Committee this week and has been sent to the 10th order.

PRO-LIFE

New Legislation: House Bill 17 was introduced this week by Representative Bruce Skaugg to ban tax funding being sent to abortion providers as well as prohibit any public contracting or public funding of any nature to a facility or organization that offers abortions. This bill received a print hearing in the House State Affairs Committee this week and was assigned a bill number.

STATE FINANCE

New Legislation: House Bill 7 would allow Idaho to diversify the forms of funds it holds.  Specifically, the bill allows Idaho to maintain its funds in gold and silver in addition to Federal Reserve Notes. Representative Ron Nate introduced the bill this week and it has been referred to the House State Affairs Committee.

JUDICIAL SYSTEM

New Legislation: This week, Senate Bill 1027 was introduced by Senator Doug Ricks in the Senate State Affairs Committee. This bill would require that individuals who are wrongfully convicted of a crime would receive restitution from the state of Idaho.

STATE CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENTS

New Legislation: Senate Joint Resolution 101, introduced by Senator C. Scott Grow in the Senate State Affairs Committee, proposes an amendment to the state constitution that basically states psychoactive drugs are illegal unless such drugs are approved by the federal Food and Drug Administration and permitted by the state.

Update: House Joint Resolution 1, introduced by Representative Steven Harris and Representative Gayann DeMordaunt, seeks to amend the Idaho Constitution to allow the legislature to convene itself under special circumstances.  To do so, 60% of legislators in the House and Senate would have to agree. This bill passed the House State Affairs Committee this week and passed the House floor. It has been sent to the Senate chamber to be assigned to a committee.