The Idaho House of Representatives
In House State Affairs, Senate Bill 1136 sponsored by Senator Kelly Anthon, R-Burley, was sent to the floor. The committee does want to see several word changes, but it won’t change the bill overall. will now be heading to the House for a vote. The bill intends to add needed changes to Idaho’s Disaster Preparedness Act, in Idaho Code Section 46-1008, the section that handles the governor’s emergency powers. This legislation includes limiting how long Idaho can be in a state emergency, it would declare all Idaho workers are essential, protect for rights to assemble, freedom of religion, and gun rights; and restore checks and balances.
Idaho House Floor
On the House Floor, they took up House Bill 332, sponsored by Rep. Steve Harris, R-Meridian. This piece of legislation would cut Idaho’s income tax rates and on top of that provide a tax rebate of either $50 per person or 9% of the taxpayer’s 2019 state income tax liability, whichever is greater. Thie legislation passed out of committee. This bill is also co-sponsored by all four members of the House GOP leadership. This bill passed 58-12. A party-line vote.
The Idaho House has approved Senate Bill 1133aa which allows Idahoans in foster care to remain in the system until age 21 rather than aging out at 18. The bill now goes to the Senate.
The House voted to approve a joint memorial that requests that the federal government sanction the Chinese government and the Chinese Communist Party over the handling of the COVID-19 outbreak. HJM is sponsored y Rep. Aaron von Ehlinger, R-Lewiston. House Speaker Scott Bedke, R-Oakley, called for a voice vote. Votes weren’t recorded.
Commentary: Biggest talk right now in the legislature is that Speaker Scott Bedke, R-Oakley has said that he fears the Legislature is going to be shut down due to COVID-19 concerns. Their goal is to stay in session until March 26th if possible. 3 members of the legislature have now tested positive for COVID 19. Rep. Ryan Kerby, R-Plymouth, Rep. Lance Clow, R-Twin Falls, and Rep. Bruce Skaug, R-Nampa, have all tested positive. We’ll see what happens!
The Idaho Senate
Senate State Affairs just passed S1183. This bill is sponsored by Sen. Patti Anne Lodge, R- Huston, and Rep. Steve Harris, R-Meridian. The bill was introduced by Blaine Conzatti from the Family Policy Alliance of Idaho. The Heartbeat bill would require that if fetal heartbeats were detected, an abortion would be prohibited unless a woman’s life is in danger or if the pregnancy is due to rape or incest. A fetal heartbeat can be detected as early as six weeks before many women know they are pregnant. Idaho’s Heartbill is one of many that have been introduced in other states, however, those bills are being held up due to court case determining their constitutionality. This bill could be trigger by those court decisions. The only way that this bill would go into effect is if any federal appeals court ruling or U.S. Supreme Court ruling upholding similar laws in other states. He said that the provision of the bill was put in place to protect Idaho taxpayers from defending against lawsuits.
The Senate State Affairs Committee has killed House Bill 106, sponsored by Rep. Vito Barbieri, R-Dalton Gardens. This bill would eliminate the August Election. Eliminating the August election date will give county officials a window to do planned maintenance and to properly train county election employees. The August election is the only election where there are no federal or state questions being raised, school levies are the only ones.
In the Senate Education Committee, they heard House Bill 174 sponsored in the House by Rep. Dorothy Moon, R-Stanley. This bill would give school boards the options of whether they will participate in negotiations with a local school association aka teachers union. This legislation would accomplish this by changing just one word in the section of law to “shall” enter into negotiations to “may” enter into negotiations. This bill died in Committee. Senator Lent made the motion to hold the bill in committee and only two senators voted against the motion
This morning the Senate voted 28-6 to continue supporting Idaho Public Television. Many had concerns about supporting a program that they feel has shown extreme partisanship and teach critical race theory to Idaho children. House Bill 283 would approve $2.7 million in state funds to be put toward IPTV’s $9.6 million 2021 budget. This bill will now go to the Governor’s desk for his signature.
The Senate passed Senate Bill 1179 27-6 and it will now head to the house for a hearing. This is a bill that determines the budget for Idaho’s Higher Education Institutions. There was controversy on the floor because some of the Senators did not feel comfortable voting for Bosie State University because of Social Justice Ideology they feel is being pushed at the school. Other Senators felt that passing this bill would be okay because they want to encourage diversity in ideas.
We received a press release that Governor Little has signed a bill that invests in Idaho public buildings. According to the press release “Governor Brad Little signed House Bill 225 into law today, the third of his “Building Idaho’s Future” bills that make strategic investments in critical state priorities. House Bill 225 directs close to $90 million to the state’s Permanent Building Fund to pay for needed projects and repairs in public buildings.”
Gov. Brad Little will hold a press conference regarding the COVID-19 federal relief plan at 1:30 pm MT Thursday.
To read all our notes from the 2021 session, click HERE.