EMPLOYMENT & TAXES
New Legislation: This week, Senate Bill 1161, introduced by Senator Jim Guthrie (R-McCammon), was referred to the Senate Commerce and Human Resources Committee and sent to be amended. This bill would add regulation to the system of apprenticeships for electricians. The system would designate one journeyman electrician to every two apprentices.
New Legislation: Senate Bill 1170, sponsored by Senator Jim Rice (R-Caldwell), was introduced into the Senate Local Government and Taxation Committee this week. This bill is a trailer bill for SB.1108aa. If passed, SB.1170 would provide that current year assessed values will be used to determine the levy rate for new construction and annexation, but allows the previous year’s valuation to be used for centrally assessed operating property. This is intended to provide relief from increasing property tax.
New Legislation: House Bill 302, sponsored by Representative Kevin Andrus (R-Lava Hot Springs), was introduced and printed in the House State Affairs Committee this week. This bill would require all parents considering the abortion of a preborn child with Down Syndrome to be provided by their physician with information about Down Syndrome, as well as a list of available services for families of children with Down Syndrome, prior to performing the abortion. This would include medically accurate information about Down Syndrome and the development of children with Down Syndrome, as well as local financial, medical, emotional, and spiritual resources available to families. This bill is intended to increase the information accessible to parents of preborn children with Down Syndrome, who have been estimated to be aborted at a rate of up to 90%.
Update: House Bill 59, sponsored by Representative Julieanne Young (R-Blackfoot), passed out of the House, 67-0-3. 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.
New Legislation: Last week, House Bill 294 was introduced and referred to the House Education Committee. The bill is sponsored by Representative Wendy Horman (R-Idaho Falls). HB.294 would create student grant programs and scholarships. This bill would give money to families to assist with education costs. This bill would request $30 million from the federal government and $5 million ongoing state general funds.
New Legislation: This week, the Idaho House introduced and passed House Bill 299, sponsored by Representative Caroline Troy (R-Genesee). If passed by the Senate, this bill would prohibit employees of Idaho’s public Colleges and Universities from offering extra credit for voting-related behaviors, including voting, not voting, or voting for a specific candidate or ballot measure.
Update: Senate Bill 1046, introduced by Senator Steven P. Thayn (R-Emmett), 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, 26-7-2. | Madison Liberty Standard: Support.
Update: This week, the Idaho Senate unanimously passed (35-0) Senate Bill 1116, sponsored by Senator Kevin Cook (R-Idaho Falls). SB.1116 would make it so that if a student is found to have a weapon at a public school, the student would not be required to be expelled. Currently, if a student brings a weapon, it would be required that the student be expelled.
Update: Sponsored by Representatives Charlie Shepherd (R-Pollock), Ryan Kerby (R – New Plymouth), and Dorothy Moon (R-Stanley), House Bill 221 passed out of the House, 54-13-3. This bill seeks to address the shortage of teachers that exists in Idaho, especially in the rural areas of the state. The bill would permit local governments to create teaching certificates that can be more easily obtained than current certificates. These local government-created certificates would only be valid in the county where it was issued.
Update: House Bill 249, sponsored by Representative Barbara Ehardt (R-Idaho Falls), was passed by the House, 56-12-2, this week. The bill would require parents to opt their children into their school’s sexual education course. Currently, the public school policy is that students automatically opt into a sexual education course and their parents must opt the child out. This bill would flip the current policy. | Madison Liberty Standard: Support.
New Legislation: This week, Senator Christy Zito (R-Hammett) introduced House Bill 300, known as the Small Arms Protection Act. Referred to the House State Affairs Committee, HB.300 would help protect small arms and self-defense. This bill would also give the Attorney General the ability to challenge federal enforcement agencies.
New Legislation: This week House Bill 122 (previously House Bill 89) was introduced by Representative Chad Christensen. This bill allows school district employees, with an enhanced concealed weapons license, to carry a concealed weapon on school property. Senators Christy Zito and Regina Bayer are also primary sponsors of this bill. It passed the House State Affairs Committee this week, as well as the house floor.
New Legislation: Senator Mary Souza (R-Coeur d’Alene) introduced Senate Bill 1166 this week. It has since been referred to the Senate State Affairs Committee. This piece of legislation would allow counties with heavy same-day registration to create a separate polling station for same-day voter registration to cut down on excessive lines at polling places.
New Legislation: House Bill 288, sponsored by Representative Greg Chaney (R-Caldwell), was introduced to the House Judiciary, Rules, and Administration Committee this week. This bill would prohibit the distribution of personal identifying information, including residential addresses, for the purpose of assembling to annoy, harass, or participate in targeted residential picketing. Violation of this law, if passed, would be a misdemeanor. On Tuesday, HB.288 was tabled on the House floor and sent to General Orders. | Madison Liberty Standard: Oppose.
Update: Senate Bill 1027, sponsored by Senator Doug Ricks (R-Rexburg), was signed into law by the Governor this week. This bill would require that individuals who are wrongfully convicted of a crime would receive monetary restitution from the state of Idaho. | Madison Liberty Standard: Support.
Update: House Bill 126 was introduced this week by Senator Jim Guthrie (R-McCammon). This bill would permit the production, processing, transportation, and research of hemp. HB.126 passed the House this week by a vote of 44-26.
Update: House Bill 216 is a supplemental appropriations bill of more than $369 million for Medicaid. This bill passed the Senate 29-5-1 and is now awaiting action from the Governor. Should you wish to contact the Governor with your position on HB.216, please call (208) 334-2100 or visit his website HERE.
Update: This week, Senate Bill 1150, introduced by Senator Patti Ann Lodge (R-Huston), passed the Idaho Senate by a vote of 28-6-1. This bill would create an additional rule on citizen petitions. The new rule would require a level of proof that those who are signing the petitions are residing in Idaho when they signed the petition. This is to ensure that the will of Idahoans are being represented not Utahns or Californians.
STATE OF EMERGENCY
New Legislation: House Bill 281 was introduced this week by Representative Karey Hanks (R-St. Anthony). Now before the House State Affairs Committee, HB.281 would ban any mask mandates for any reason by any level of government in the state of Idaho.
New Legislation: This week, Representative Jason Monks (R-Meridian) introduced House Bill 301. Referred to the House Commerce and Human Resources Committee, this bill would make employers liable for any medical issues resulting from a vaccine if the employer-mandated the vaccine for employment.
New Legislation: Last week, House Bill 291 was introduced and referred to the House Business Committee. Sponsored by Representative Brent J. Crane (R-Nampa), HB.291 would create a Business Bill of Rights. This would protect businesses and business owners from being forced to close during emergencies. This bill would prevent the revoking of business licenses by government entities and protect against excessive fees to be placed on businesses.
New Legislation: This week, House Bill 298 was introduced and referred to the House Education Committee. Sponsored by Representative Gayann DeMordaunt (R-Eagle), this legislation would require schools to inform parents of the ability to opt out of vaccinations. This would allow for easier information for parents to make informed decisions with their children.
Update: House Bill 67, sponsored by Representatives Gayann DeMordaunt (R-Eagle) and Ryan Kerby (R – New Plymouth), 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. This week the Governor signed this legislation. | Madison Liberty Standard: Support.
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 (R-Eagle) and Ryan Kerby (R-New Plymouth). HB.68 was signed into law by the Governor, with an effective date of March 3, 2021.
Update: Senate Bill 1136, previously Senate Bill 1003, was reintroduced with some minor changes by Senators Kelly Anthon (R-Burley) and Chuck Winder (R-Boise). This bill would change the designation of certain events from a “state of emergency” to a “state of peril.” This would limit these events to man-made disasters rather than natural disasters. This bill would also prohibit restrictions on the ability of Idahoans to work during a state of peril. Additionally, it would create limits to the length of a state of peril and the Governor’s capacity to restrict the freedoms of citizens during these situations. SB.1136 is expected for a floor vote in the Senate soon.
Matthew Veach is Policy and Research Intern who is currently pursuing a degree in International Studies with an emphasis in Policy while minoring in Political Science and Public Administration at BYU-Idaho. He will graduate in July 2021 then pursue a Master of Public Administration beginning in Fall 2021.