Today has been an interesting day in the legislature. Both the House and the Senate Both have decided to go into recess till April 6 due to COVID-19 concerns. So this session there has been a total of 14 confirmed cases of COVID-19 at the Idaho capitol this session and just 8 of those were from this week.  Besides, at least one House member is currently in quarantine. Speaker Scott Bedke, R-Oakley, announced at a press conference following this announcement that “All we did was press pause, nothing gets erased.”

All committees were canceled on the House side other than two committees that met briefly.

House Education Committee, met briefly to talk about a few “pre-bills”. An RS regarding School community councils Rep. Wendy Horman, R-Idaho Falls another about  High school activities, coaching and another one regarding Racist, sexist concepts introduced by Ed Humphreys. This bill if enacted would prohibit “racist and sexist concepts” from being encouraged in Idaho public schools. It was unanimously passed by the committee to be printed and start its journey through the legislature.

The Governor has been busy signing bills into law. So far he has signed the following:
The Governor signed House Bill 216 into law. This bill barely slid through House 37-31 earlier this session. This bill is a supplemental appropriation bill for the Department of Health and Welfare for $369,764,100 to allow the Division of Medicaid to pay bills due in the current fiscal year under the current law. This could be one of the largest supplemental requests in Idaho’s history for an agency or program. This one supplemental bill exceeds the sum of all supplemental requests for all agencies in many years in the past 20.
House Bill 74 has also been signed into law, this bill would amend the Idaho statute to limit the application of health ordinances to city limits. Or in other words, it changes the Idaho code to prevent cities from enforcing health and quarantine laws outside of their borders.
HB 120, that would allow a veteran who has received a veteran’s property tax reduction.
House Bill 25 that Consistentcuts “red tape” for State Parks. This legislation repeals nine sections of the Idaho Code that are no longer necessary for the operation of the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation.
House Bill 136 would allow political subdivisions no larger than 140 voters to request the board of county commissioners to allow at-large elections rather than by district zone or subdistrict.
Senate Bill 1055 clarifies and enhances the protections on sport shooting ranges. It accomplishes this by adding new definitions to the Idaho code. By changing these definitions, shooting ranges to more easily expand, and remain open against frivolous lawsuits attempting to shut them down.
Senate Bill 1060 would limit health districts and mask mandates. This legislation would prevent a mask mandate from taking effect unless it was ratified by a resolution passed by local county commissioners and it would also change the penalty from misdemeanors to a $50 fine. The bill has an emergency clause written in it that would make the bill affect immediately.
Senate Bill 1041  This legislation would change Idaho’s price gouging law and prevent another occurrence like a $1.5 million settlement that the state Attorney General’s office reached with the three largest fuel retailers in Idaho over prices charged during the COVID-19 pandemic.
To read all our notes from the 2021 session, click HERE.