2021 Legislative Update: Week 5

ECONOMY & TAXATION

New Legislation: House Bill 140 was introduced this week, sponsored by Representative Priscilla Giddings. This bill would prohibit any government entity in Idaho from contracting with a company that discriminates against their employees based on vaccination status.

Update: 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 legislation passed the House 51-19 and has been referred to the Senate State Affairs Committee.

Update: Senate Bill 1041 introduced by Senator Jim Guthrie would adjust a section of code that bans businesses and individuals from charging excessive prices for pharmaceuticals, water, food and fuel during a state of emergency (also known as price gouging). This bill amends that law to clarify that an exorbitant price can’t be judged by how much the retailer is earning (“increase in margin earned”), only the comparative price of the item before and during the state of emergency. This bill passed the Senate floor this week and was sent to the House Commerce and Human Resources Committee.

New Legislation: This week Senate Bill 1084 was sent to the Senate Commerce and Human Resources Committee. This bill would set up a regular review of required licensing for jobs and occupations to evaluate if any licensing is unnecessary and can be eliminated. This bill is sponsored by Senators Lori Den Hartog and Todd M. Lakey, and Representative Gayann De Mordaunt.

New Legislation: House Bill 141 was introduced this week, sponsored by Representative Caroline Nilsson Troy. This bill would require that any procurement contract given out by a state agency to a state institution of higher education would have to be awarded on a competitive basis between all the public state institutions of higher education. 

New Legislation: House Bill 145 was introduced this week, sponsored by Representative Sage G. Dixon. This bill would change the requirements for electrical apprenticeships overall to be more restrictive. It removes the journeyman to apprentice ratio requirement, establishes a new requirement that an electrical apprentice must have constant supervision, adds penalties for violation of this rule, and establishes a new educational requirement. 

New Legislation: House Bill 126 was introduced this week, sponsored by Senator Jim Guthrie. This bill would permit the production, processing, transportation, and research of hemp. This bill was sent to the House Agricultural Affairs Committee this week. 

FAMILY PROSPERITY

New Legislation: Senate Bill 1085, sponsored by Senator Patti Anne Lodge and Representative Steve Harris, was sent to the Senate State Affairs Committee this week. This bill would prohibit abortions after a heartbeat of the fetus can be detected, with exceptions for rape, incest, and the life of the mother. This would not go into effect immediately; it would be inactive until triggered by a United States appellate court decision decided in favor of a similar heartbeat abortion law.

New Legislation: House Bill 108, also known as the Sergeant Kitzhaber Medical Cannabis Act, was sent to the House Health and Welfare Committee this week. This bill would permit possession, distribution, transportation, and use of medical cannabis. It would also make marijuana a schedule II controlled substance.  This bill was sponsored by Representatives Ilana Rubel and Mike Kingsley.

Update: House Bill 90 (previously House Bill 65), introduced by Representative Doug Okuniewicz, would protect historic monuments in Idaho from being permanently removed unless the Idaho Legislature passes a concurrent resolution permitting the action. HB.90 passed the House 51-19 and has been sent to the Senate State Affairs Committee.

EDUCATION

Update: Senate Bill 1046, introduced by Senator Steven P. Thayn, would allow parents to request curriculum alternatives in public schools if the parents of at least 24 students request changes. This bill would give parents a greater say in their children’s education and what happens at school. This week, the bill passed out of the Senate Education Committee and is currently being amended. 

Update: House Bill 67, sponsored by Representative Gayann DeMordaunt and Representative Ryan Kerby, would limit which government entities are allowed to close down K-12 schools for public health reasons. Under this legislation, only school boards would have that power. The bill passed 65-5 in the House and has been sent to the Senate. This bill passed the Madison Liberty Standard (100%), and we SUPPORT this bill. 

Update: House Bill 68 requires that each state institution of higher education create a plan to stop the spread of infectious diseases. After that plan has been put in place, only the Idaho Department of Education would be able to close a state institution of higher education for public health reasons. This bill is sponsored by Representatives Gayann DeMordaunt and Ryan Kerby.  It was passed this week by the House 59-11 and it has now been sent to the Senate Education Committee.

New Legislation: House Bill 116, sponsored by Representatives Julie Yamamoto and Lance Clow, would save students money who go to state-sponsored institutions of higher education. It would ensure that tuition and fees will remain the same as the previous year, by allowing students to opt-in to the fees they want to pay for campus-provided services like health and wellness, information technology and facilities for individuals with disabilities, etc.  This bill is currently in the House Education Committee.

New Legislation: Senate Bill 1075, sponsored by Senator Thayne and Representative Kerby, allows school districts to begin a 4-week jump start program for children starting kindergarten that did poorly on an initial screening. To be eligible for the program the parents also will need to attend training on how to help their child succeed. This bill was sent to the Senate Education Committee this week.

GOOD GOVERNANCE

Update: House Bill 88 would make ballot collection (sometimes called “harvesting”) illegal except when done by someone specifically authorized to do so, or by family members of a voter. The exception makes it possible for the elderly to give their ballot to someone they trust to be delivered for counting. This bill, introduced by Representative Mike Moyle, was read for a second and third time then was placed on general order.

New Legislation: House Bill 105, sponsored by Representative Tammy Nichols, would ensure that Idaho’s electoral college votes would go to the presidential candidate that receives the most votes in Idaho on election day. It also limits absentee ballots to individuals in the military or who provide a signed affidavit stating they physically are unable to vote in person. This was sent to the House State Affairs Committee this week.

New Legislation: House Bill 153 was introduced this week, sponsored by Representative Priscilla Giddings. This bill would require a separate appropriations bill for each state institution of higher education. Currently, all the state institutions of higher education are funded through a single bill.

New Legislation: This week House Bill 106, sponsored by Representative Vito Barbieri, passed the House State Affairs Committee. This bill would eliminate the August election that can currently be used only by school districts.

New Legislation: Senate Bill 1060 would require that orders from a Public Health district be approved or denied by the county commissioners of each county before they go into effect. This bill is sponsored by Senator Steve Vick and passed the Senate Health and Welfare Committee this week.

New Legislation: This week Senate Bill 1068 passed the Senate State Affairs Committee. This bill requires that the legislative session end by the last Friday of March each year. It can be extended to address a legislative veto by the governor, in a state of emergency, or if 2/3 of each chamber of the legislature pass a concurrent resolution to continue the session. This bill was sponsored by Senator Jim Guthrie.

Update: Senate Bill 1027 was introduced by Senator Doug Ricks and has now passed the Senate 35-0 and has been referred to the House. This bill would require that individuals who are wrongfully convicted of a crime would receive restitution from the state of Idaho. 

Update: Senate Joint Resolution 101, introduced by Senator C. Scott Grow, passed out of the Senate 24-11 and has gone to the House.  The bill 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.

New Legislation: Senate Bill 1110 was introduced this week, sponsored by Senator Steve Vick. This bill would require that for a referendum or ballot initiative to be successful that signatures must be gathered from every legislative district in the state. Currently, the law says signatures only have to be gathered from 18 out of the 35 legislative districts.

New Legislation: House Bill 137 was introduced this week, sponsored by Representative Julianne Young. This bill would establish a process for an audit of an election by the Secretary of State. In this process, a comparison would be made between the results reported by each county and the physical paper ballots from voters, to evaluate if the results are correct. 

STATE OF EMERGENCY

Update: In an effort to help the vaccine become available for those who are waiting to receive it, House Bill 97 requires administrators of the COVID-19 vaccine (typically hospitals, pharmacies, etc.) to report to the Department of Health and Welfare if they have not used more than 70% of their vaccines within 14 days of receiving the doses. It also requires administrators to keep a waiting list of individuals to contact for instances when cancellations of appointments occur. This legislation is sponsored by Representatives John Gannon and Bruce Skaugg and is currently referred to the House Health and Welfare Committee

Update: House Bill 135 (previously House Bill 1,  House Bill 16, and House Bill 98) focuses on the separation of powers between the executive and legislative branches, the right to work during a pandemic, and curbing the powers of the Governor. It limits the power of the Governor to restrict a person’s ability to work or attend religious meetings during a state of emergency. One of the new changes is expanding the original state of emergency to 60 days instead of the previous version which was for 30 days. This bill was introduced by Representative Jason Monks and sent to the House State Affairs Committee this week. This bill passed the Madison Liberty Standard (100%), and we SUPPORT this bill.