The Idaho House and Senate are still in recess till April 6 due to COVID-19 concerns. However, that doesn’t mean that work at that Capitol has come to a complete halt.
During the 2 week recess, Governor Brad Little
has been hard at work signing important legislation that has already cleared both chambers. He has been mostly signing appropriation bills; however, there is some important legislation that is important to note that we wanted to bring to Idahoan’s attention. Including the Governor’s first veto of 2021.
This law would have changed existing law to revise the responsibilities of the state tax commissioners. Specifically, this legislation would have changed the law to require commissioners’ approval when the chairman makes certain administrative decisions.
The Governor vetoed it because he felt like it added more red tape to the Idaho code. However, some elected officials have brought the concern that they feel like this bill would have created more transparency and accountability with the tax commission.
Commentary: When a bill is veto or signed the Governor would like to make comment regarding his decision, he drafts what is known as a transmittal letter. To read the Governor’s official transmitted for House Bill 214, click here.
Other Bills Signed By Governor Little:
Sponsored by Rep. Demourdant and Rep. Horman would codify and clarifies the ability for School Districts to permit students to earn credit for learning or work done outside of traditional classrooms. Signed on 03/25.
This piece of legislation, sponsored by Sen. Patricks states that ag rules must be based on scientific evidence. Signed on 03/25.
This piece of legislation provides immunity from being sued because someone contracted coronavirus for individuals, corporations, schools, cities counties, etc. Passed during the extraordinary session and this just extends it because it was set to expire. Signed on 03/25.
This bill is an appropriation bill for Idaho Public Television. In the Senate the bill passed 28-6, however, there was some controversy in the House and it only narrowly passed 36-34. 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 was signed by the Governor on 03/23.
To follow bills Governor Brad Little has signed, click here
Other important information to note:
At the beginning of the Idaho legislative session, Governor Brad Little proposed that he would like to see $80 million dollars allocated towards transportation funding in his State of the State address
. He stated that he and the Idaho Legislature will work together on a transportation funding plan that would potentially blend both General Fund and reliable user fees. However, word on the street says that The Govenor may be trying to accomplish this by pushing for an additional 4 cent gas tax.
Instead of raising the gas tax, members of the House have chosen to put forward House Bill 342. This legislation, sponsored by Rep. Joe Palmer would still increase funding for transportation projects without raising taxes. According to a press release sent out by the Idaho House Republican Caucus, House Bill 342 “uses sales tax already being collected and increases the distribution of that tax to transportation from 1% to 4.5% with 3% going to the state and 1.5% to local districts. It would also allow locals to pool funds for larger projects.”
This will be an important topic that the legislature and Governor will continue to discuss once the session begins again on April 6th.
To read all our notes from the 2021 session, click HERE.