2021 Legislative Update: Week 3

EMERGENCY POWERS

Update: House Concurrent Resolution 2, introduced by Representative Barbara Ehardt and Representative Brent Crane, was passed out of the house with a vote of 55-15.  The bill has now been sent to the Senate State Affairs Committee. The resolution 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 week, the resolution has been referred back to the Senate State Affairs Committee.

New Legislation: House Bill 33 would restrict public health departments from creating harsh fines.  Fines would not be allowed to be higher than $50 for an individual or $300 for a business.  Public health departments would also be limited to 30 day periods of enforcement and quarantine orders in cases of emergency.  This bill was introduced by Representative Megan Blanksma and is currently in the House Health and Welfare Committee.  

New Legislation: Representative Brandon Mitchell introduced House Bill 34 which was referred to the House Health and Welfare Committee.  The bill limits public health orders to the city where it is applied rather than to the surrounding areas.

New Legislation: House Concurrent Resolution 4 was introduced by Representative Jason Monks.  The resolution would allow the legislature to terminate various emergency orders over the last five years.  The resolution is currently in the House State Affairs Committee.

 

FAMILY PROSPERITY

Update: House Bill 17 was referred to the House State Affairs Committee. This bill was introduced by Representative Bruce Skaugg to ban tax funding from 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. 

New Legislation: Senate Bill 1030 was introduced this week by Senator Melissa Wintrow.  This bill would add “gender identity” and “sexual orientation” to the Idaho Human Rights Act.  This would restrict the religious rights of individuals to make choices that may adversely affect the LGBTQ community based on their religious beliefs.  Thus creating a legal backlash against people of faith across Idaho for practicing their religion according to their conscience.  The bill is currently in the House State Affairs Committee

New Legislation: Representative John McCrostie introduced House Bill 52 to ban conversion therapy.  While some types of conversion therapy are inarguably wrong regardless of one’s stance on homosexuality, this bill defines conversion therapy as “any practice or treatment that seeks to change the sexual orientation or gender identity of a patient or client.”  This definition is incredibly broad and could be used to limit the rights of churches and religious individuals to teach doctrine regarding gender and sexual orientation.  This bill is currently in the House Ways and Means Committee.

New Legislation: House Bill 56 was introduced this week by Representatives Heather Scott and Ron Nate.  The bill, which has been referred to the House Committee on Judiciary, Rules, and Administration, would ban abortion without exception in the state of Idaho.  Abortion would be classified as murder and the Attorney General of Idaho would be required to enforce the bill.

New Legislation: House Bill 59 was introduced this week by Representative Julieanne Young.  This bill would make a change in the way that current birth certificates indicate adopted versus birth parents on the record, which allows adoptees to trace their birth parents after the age of 18. The bill passed a print hearing in the House State Affairs Committee this week. 

 

BUSINESS, FINANCE, & TRANSPARENCY

New Legislation: Representative Greg Ferch introduced House Bill 45, which was referred to the House Committee on Judiciary, Rules, and Administration.  The bill is meant to prohibit the ability of local governments to control the rent, fees, and deposits of private property.  Currently, Idaho law prohibits local government from controlling rent prices.  This legislation would include fees and deposits as items that local governments cannot control.

New Legislation: Senate Bill 1028 is designed to raise the minimum wage over the course of the next three years.  Incrementally, the state minimum wage would be raised to $10 in 2021, $12.50 in 2022, and $15 in 2023.  The bill was introduced by Senator Grant Burgoyne and is currently in the Senate Committee on State Affairs.

New Legislation: Representative Ron Nate introduced House Bill 21 concerning businesses owned by minors. The bill, which passed out of the House Taxation and Revenue Committee, would prevent local governments from requiring various permits, licenses, and fees of businesses owned by minors.

New Legislation: This week Representative Jon Weber introduced House Bill 53, which was referred to the House State Affairs Committee. When government entities are required to post certain notices by law, this bill would give those entities the option to use electronic notices. 

 

JUDICIAL SYSTEM

Update: Senate Bill 1027, introduced by Senator Doug Ricks, was sent to the Senate Committee for Judiciary, Rules and Administration. This bill would require that individuals who are wrongfully convicted of a crime would receive restitution from the state of Idaho. 

 

CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENTS

Update: 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.  This bill passed out of the Senate State Affairs Committee.

Update: House Joint Resolution 1 was voted on in the house and passed by a vote of 51-18-1.  In advancing to the Senate, it was referred to the Senate State Affairs Committee.  The bill was introduced by Representative Steven Harris and Representative Gayann DeMordaunt and 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.