Update: This week, Senate Concurrent Resolution 107, sponsored by Senator Jim Guthrie (R-McCammon), passed the Senate by a vote of 28 to 7. This resolution establishes a committee to study the issue of illegal immigrants driving on Idaho roads without insurance and knowledge of United States driving laws, with consideration of offering a driving authorization card to these persons with a requirement to pass a driving test and obtain insurance before driving.
New Legislation: House Bill 362, introduced by Rep. Joe Palmer (R-Meridian), passed the House by a vote of 59 to 11. This bill increases the sales tax used already to bond for the Transportation Expansion and Congestion Mitigation program from 1% to 4.5% and allows local governments to participate in bonding. This bill would require the state to go into debt to fund the projects associated with this program.
Update: This week, Senate Bill 1163 failed the House, 27 to 42. This was an appropriations bill for Idaho’s Department of Health and Welfare that would include over 30 million dollars in federal funds to make loans available to childcare providers seeking relief from financial COVID disruption.
Update: Senate Joint Memorial 103, a legislative action to voice opposition to removal or breaching of the dams on the Columbia-Snake River System, passed the House this week 58 to 12. This resolution was sponsored by Senator Regina Bayer (R-Meridian) and Senator Steve Vick (R-Dalton Gardens).
ECONOMY & TAXES
Update: This week, House Bill 332, introduced by Rep. Steven Harris (R-Meridian), passed out of the Senate Local Government Committee and was sent to the 14th order to be amended. This tax relief bill proposes to reduce all income tax brackets and set the top bracket to 6.5%, retroactive to January 2021. It also provides a one-time, nontaxable income tax rebate to Idaho taxpayers.
Update: This week, Senate Bill 1087 failed the House, 28 to 40. Sponsored by Representative John Vander Woude (R-Nampa) and Senator Kelly Anthon (R-Burley), SB.1087 adjusts Idaho’s legal age for tobacco use to match the federal age requirement of 21 (up from 18) and also added that no local government could impose stricter regulations than what is allowed at the state level.
Update: House Bill 363, a new version of Senate Bill 1087, was introduced by Rep. John Vander Woude (R-Nampa) after SB.1087 failed this week. This version removed the section that would prohibit local governments from regulating the tobacco industry. It retained the part that aligns Idaho law with federal law by bringing the legal age for smoking up to 21.
Update: This week, Senate Bill 1119, introduced by Senator Doug Ricks (R-Rexburg), passed the House by a vote of 49 to 20. This bill, requested by the Sheriffs Association, changes the amount of time that lost items need to be held at a police station before they are sold. Currently, items must be held for six months, resulting in high storage costs. This bill changes the time to 60 days for bicycles and 90 days for everything else.
Update: Senate Bill 1102, sponsored by Representative James Holtzclaw (R-Meridian) and Senator Lori Den Hartog (R-Meridian), adds new locations available to register vehicles. If signed into law, a new vehicle could be registered at a car dealership, bank, or credit union. This legislation passed unanimously in the House and previously passed in the Senate. It has been sent to the Governor for consideration.
Update: House Bill 223, previously House Bill 88, sponsored by Representative Mike Moyle (R-Star), passed the Senate State Affairs Committee this week and was referred to the 14th order for amendment. The sponsor intends to initiate an amendment that would lower the punishment to a misdemeanor instead of a felony for infringements of this proposed law. This bill 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. | Madison Liberty Standard: Support.
Update: House Bill 302, sponsored by Representative Kevin Andrus (R-Lava Hot Springs), passed the Senate State Affairs Committee this week. This bill would require all parents considering the abortion of a preborn child 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 220 (previously House Bill 17), sponsored by Representative Bruce Skaugg (R-Nampa), would ban taxpayer funds from being sent to abortion providers and prohibit any public contracting or public funding of any nature to a facility or organization that offers abortions. This bill passed the Senate State Affairs Committee this week and was sent to the 14th order for amendment. | Madison Liberty Standard: Favor
Update: Senate Bill 1183 (previously Senate Bill 1085), sponsored by Senator Patti Anne Lodge and Representative Steve Harris, passed in the Senate as well as the House State Affairs Committee and was sent to general orders for amendment. This bill would prohibit abortions after the fetus’s heartbeat is detected, with exceptions for rape and incest. 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. | Madison Liberty Standard: Favor
STATE OF EMERGENCY
Update: Senate Bill 1136, previously Senate Bill 1003, sponsored by Senators Kelly Anthon (R-Burley), Chuck Winder (R-Boise), and Representative Jason Monks (R-Meridian), passed the Senate and the House with amendments and will be sent to the Governor’s desk. 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. | Madison Liberty Standard: Support.
Update: This week, Senate Bill 1134, legislation that allows for the recovery of federal funds after a Declaration of State Emergency has expired or ended, passed in the House and previously passed in the Senate. It has been sent to the Governor’s desk. This bill was sponsored by Senator Mark Harris (R-Soda Springs) and Representative Megan Blanksma (R-Hammett).
New Legislation: House Concurrent Resolution 18, introduced into the House Ways and Means Committee by Representative Scott Bedke (R-Oakley), Speaker of the House, is the first of three resolutions proposed to review the use of billions of federal ARPA funds (COVID relief) coming into Idaho. This resolution passed the House by a vote of 64 to 4. This resolution establishes a committee to review the funds set aside for water infrastructure projects. The committee would be composed of the House Resources and Conservation standing committee and the Senate Resources and Environment standing committee membership.
New Legislation: House Concurrent Resolution 19, introduced into the House Ways and Means Committee by Representative Scott Bedke (R-Oakley), Speaker of the House, is the second of three resolutions proposed to review the use of billions of federal ARPA funds (COVID relief) coming into Idaho. This resolution passed the House, 54 to 13. This resolution establishes a committee composed of Majority and Minority leadership in both chambers, the pro temp, speaker of the house, JFAC Co-chairs, and two at large members appointed by the Speaker and Pro temp from the house and senate membership. This committee is designed as a “catch-all” to suggest policy recommendations for any purpose these federal funds would be used other than water, broadband and sewer infrastructure.
New Legislation: House Concurrent Resolution 20, introduced into the House Ways and Means Committee by Representative Scott Bedke (R-Oakley), Speaker of the House, is the third of three resolutions proposed to review the use of billions of federal ARPA funds (COVID relief) coming into Idaho. This resolution passed the House this week, 55 to 11. This resolution establishes a committee to review the funds set aside for sewer and broadband infrastructure. The committee would be composed of the House Environment, Energy & Technology standing committee and the Senate Local Government & Taxation standing committee membership.
Update: House Bill 249, sponsored by Representative Barbara Ehardt (R-Idaho Falls), died in the Senate Education Committee this week. The bill would have allowed parents to opt their children into their school’s sexual education course (if the content expands outside of anatomy) instead of having to opt-out. 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 have reversed the current policy. | Madison Liberty Standard: Support.
Update: Senate Bill 1179, the appropriations bill for public higher education colleges and universities, failed in the House this week. There is broad concern regarding the political, social justice agendas being pushed in classrooms and discrimination towards conservative students. Due to this, the legislature would like to see a reduction in the funding of social justice programs within higher education.
Update: House Bill 298, sponsored by Representative Gayann DeMordaunt and Senator Lori Den Hartog, passed the Senate Education Committee this week. This bill mandates that notifications to parents or guardians regarding vaccinations from schools must include a verbal description of their right to exempt their child.
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.