New Legislation: House Bill 377 would protect free speech and prohibit K-12 teachers and professors of higher education institutions from requiring students to adopt a position on any issue personally. It promotes non-discriminatory practices in the classroom and allows for funds to be retracted from a school if there is a violation of this policy. This bill is sponsored by Representatives Wendy Horman (R-Idaho Falls) and Julianne Young (R-Blackfoot), and Senator Carl Crabtree. Last week this bill passed the House by a vote of 57-12 and was sent to the Senate Education Committee.
Update: House Bill 350, sponsored by Representatives Barbara Ehardt (R-Idaho Falls) and Gayann DeMordaunt (R-Eagle), would require that after a recall election has taken place that a new school trustee be appointed only temporarily until the next election, preserving the people’s voice in their choice of a trustee. This bill passed the House by a vote of 55-14 and was sent to the Senate State Affairs Committee.
Update: House Bill 364, called the Protecting Critical Thinking in Higher Education Act and sponsored by Representative Barbara Ehardt (R-Idaho Falls), passed the House last week by a vote of 56-12 and was sent to the Senate Education Committee. This bill would reinforce the right to free speech and is in response to the stories of discrimination and oppression at Idaho’s college campuses based on political beliefs.
Update: House Bill 366 (previously Senate Bill 1085 and Senate Bill 1183), sponsored by Senator Patti Anne Lodge and Representative Steve Harris, passed on the Senate floor last week by a vote of 25-7. It previously passed the House and is now awaiting action by the Governor. This bill would prohibit abortions after the fetus’s heartbeat is detected, with exceptions for rape and incest. If passed, the law 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
TAXATION & ECONOMY
Update: House Bill 380 (previously House Bill 332), introduced by Representative Steven Harris (R-Meridian), passed the House last week by a vote of 57-12 and was sent to the Senate Local Government and Taxation Committee. 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: Senate Bill 1086, sponsored by Senator Patti Anne Lodge (R-Huston) and Representative Brent J. Crane (R-Nampa), would prohibit Idaho government from entering into contracts with companies that boycott Israel. Last week the bill passed the House by a vote of 56-12 and was sent to the Governor’s desk.
2ND AMENDMENT & WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT
New Legislation: Senate Bill 1211 will revise the powers and duties of the Idaho Wolf Depredation Control Board and other regulations related to wolves. This bill would allow the year-round hunting of wolves on private land. The bill passed the Senate last week by a vote of 26-7 and additionally passed out of the House Resources and Conservation Committee.
New Legislation: Sponsored by Senators Todd Lakey (R-Nampa) and Patti Anne Lodge (R-Huston), Senate Bill 1205 (previously House Bill 300, sponsored by Senator Christy Zito) aims to protect small arms and self-defense by ensuring local law enforcement would not be required to enforce federal laws that violate the Idaho Constitution. This bill passed the Senate last week by a vote of 28-7.
STATE OF EMERGENCY
New Legislation: Senate Bill 1204 clarifies that ARPA funds (federal “COVID relief” dollars) are cognizable, which they must be in order for the state legislature to appropriate those dollars and to create governing principles for their expenditure. This bill passed the Senate by a vote of 26-9 last week, and a House floor vote is expected to occur this week.
Update: House Bill 246 (previously House Bill 4), sponsored by Representative Sage Dixon (R-Ponderay), would remove the ability of a government entity to restrict a parent’s rights over their child in a time of emergency. Thus, regardless of whether Idaho is in a state of emergency, parents’ rights over their child remain the same. This bill was amended previously in the Senate, and the House unanimously voted to accept the amendment last week. HB.246 is now on its way to the Governor’s desk. | Madison Liberty Standard: Support
Update: House Bill 135, as amended in the Senate (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. Introduced by Representative Jason Monks, HB.135 was vetoed by the Governor after passing the House and the Senate. Last week the House voted to override the veto by a vote of 48-19. | Madison Liberty Standard: Favor
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), was vetoed by the Governor last week. The Senate sustained the veto by a vote of 23-12 (failed to receive ⅔ vote by five votes). This bill would have changed the designation of certain events from a “state of emergency” to a “state of peril” limiting these events to man-made disasters rather than natural disasters. This bill would also have prohibited restrictions on the ability of Idahoans to work during a state of peril. Additionally, it would have created 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: Favor.
Update: House Bill 322 would increase the State of Idaho’s powers to not enforce unconstitutional federal orders. Sponsored by Representative Sage G. Dixon (R-Ponderay), HB.322 would increase Idaho’s ability to practice federalism if adopted. Last week, the bill passed in the House by a vote of 56-12.
Update: Senate Bill 1111, sponsored by Senator Chuck Winder (R-Boise) and Representative Joe Palmer (R-Meridian), would require any city with a population greater than 100,000 to elect city council members by district instead of at-large. It was previously amended on the House floor to incorporate language from House Bill 319, introduced by representatives Gayann DeMordaunt (R-Eagle) and Sage Dixon, which seeks to move the election of all city officials to even-numbered years. This is meant to increase voter participation because more citizens vote in even years due to elections for Governor and U.S. President being held in those years. During the past week, the Senate approved the House amendment, and the bill is expected to be voted on this week.
Update: Senate Joint Resolution 102 (previously House Joint Resolution 1 sponsored by Representatives Steven Harris and Gayann DeMordaunt) was sponsored by Senator Chuck Winder (R-Boise), Senator Kelly Anthon (R-Burley), and Representative Jason Monks (R-Meridian) and passed in the House last week by a vote of 54-15. It will now be sent to the Governor’s desk for his approval or veto. This bill seeks to amend the Idaho Constitution, allowing the legislature to convene itself under special circumstances. To do so, 60% of legislators in the House and Senate would have to agree, topics of discussion set, and then the session would need to be convened within 15 days.
Update: Senate Bill 1168 prohibits the use of private money for the administration of elections. This bill was sponsored by Senator Souza (R-Coeur d’Alene) and passed the House floor last week by a vote of 64-3.
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.