The Idaho House of Representatives

House Bill 72:

In House State Affairs, there was a hearing for House Bill 72, by Rep. James Holtzclaw, R-Meridian, regarding the Idaho Lottery. This legislation amends Idaho law to allow the Idaho Lottery to participate in international games. 

Currently, The Idaho Lottery is a member of the Multi-State Lottery Association (MUSL). MUSL Powerball Game group has approved licensing the game in Australia and the United Kingdom beginning on August 23, 2021. The current Idaho Code allows only for participation in multi-jurisdictional games offered in the United States and Canada. Rep. Heather Scott, R-Blanchard was concerned that if the Idaho Lottery joined Australia Powerball, the country’s officials could use their revenue to support causes she opposes. There were 3 testimonies. 2 against and 1 in favor of the bill. 

Rep. Chris Mathias, D-Bosie moved to send to General Orders for further amendment. However,  Rep. Bruce Skaug, R-Nampa made a Substitution motion to hold in committee. The substitute motion passed and the bill is being held in committee. 

House Bill 321:

Rep. Bararbra Ehardt, R-Idaho Falls introduced a “pre-bill” (RS28804)  that deals with recall trustee elections. Currently, if a board member is recalled (by resignation or full recall), the school board then decides who the new board member should be. I believe this piece of legislation would allow for voting on who replaces the Trustee instead of the Trustee being appointed by the school board. This legislation would not allow a Trustee to be appointed within 90 days of an upcoming election. The replacement for the Trustee would have to run for the position in the upcoming election.

If the next election is more than 90 days out, then someone would be temporarily appointed to be the Trustee, but at the next possible election, they would be required to run for that position. 

The bill passed its written hearing and will have a full hearing within the coming weeks.

House Bill 322:

Also in House State Affairs, Rep. Sage Dixion, R-Ponderay introduced RS28535C1 also known as the Federalism Act. The bill would provide a method for Idaho to interpose between Idaho citizens and Federal actions when it’s outside the federal scope of authority. 

The bill passed its written hearing and will have a full hearing within the coming weeks.

House Bill 323:

Rep.Tammy Nicols, R-Middleton introduced RS28759, a Social Media Censorship Act this morning. House Bill 323 would protect Idahoans against wrongful censorship by social media websites. According to the bill’s Statement of Purpose “the owner or operator of a social media website would be subject to a private right of action by certain social media users in this state under certain conditions; providing for damages; authorizing the award of reasonable attorney fees and costs; providing exceptions for the deletion or censorship of certain types of speech.”

This bill passed its print hearing and will have a full hearing in the coming weeks. 

House Bill 281:

Also in House State Affairs, House Bill 281 was supposed to have a hearing but the hearing was postponed till Monday because the committee ran out of time. This bill would ban mask mandates in Idaho.  This bill does not apply to private organizations, only prohibits the state and political subdivisions from establishing a mask mandate. The bill sponsor, Rep. Karey Hanks, R-St. Anthony felt it was better to wait till Monday so that everyone could have a chance to share their testimonies for or against the bill. The bill sponsor made changes to the bill to exclude Hospitals, so on Monday they will be having a full hearing for House Bill 281 and introduce RS28802 with the changes to the legislation.

House Bill 293:

On the House Floor today House Bill 293 passed 55-15 and is heading to the Senate for a full hearing. 

This bill would encourage schools to open for full-time in-person learning. If the school chooses not to open, this bill would allow a parent or guardian to withdraw their child from the school, receive prorated payment, and use it for their child’s education expense. If passed this bill would be effective April 1st because it has an emergency clause. 

Other bills heard on the floor…

Appropriation bills:

House Bill 303 appropriates $24,044,800 for the State Liquor Division 2022 Budget. Passed 41-28.

House Bill 304 appropriates $6,450,500 for the Idaho state lottery. Passed 43-26.

House Bill 232:

This bill is sponsored by Rep. James Holtzclaw, R-Meridian and Rep. Caroline Troy, R-Genesee. House Bill 232 would change the standard of measurement from alcohol by weight to alcohol by volume, moves 5% of alcohol-related tax revenue from one state agency to another, and increases taxes to make up the difference to the agency where the 5% is being taken from. Passed, 40-29.

House Bill 299:

Also sponsored by Rep. Caroline Troy, R-Genesee and would prohibit employees at colleges and universities from giving extra credit to students for voting or not voting. Passed, 63-6.

House Bill 250a:

This piece of legislation is sponsored by Rep. John Mccrostie, D-Garden City and Rep. Wendy Horman, R-Idaho Falls. House Bill 250a allows for advanced opportunities funds to be used to cover the fees students pay when they take tests like the ACT. Those funds already cover the cost of the test, but some schools were charging a proctor fee, and so this law clarifies that the advanced opportunity funds cover that fee too. Passed unanimously.

House Bill 240a:

This bill is sponsored by Rep. Doug Okuniewicz, R- Hayden and would allow for the Department of Correction to apply for a special use permit when establishing a new community reentry center. Passed, 63-5.

House Bill 147a:

This bill is sponsored by Rep. Rod Furniss, R-Rigby and is also known as the Insurance data security act. It increases the power of the department of insurance to increase regulation and set standards for managing data security. Failed, 31-37. 

House Bill 161a:

This bill increases fees that go to the transportation department. Counties in Idaho are required to provide the service of giving out driver’s licenses and identification cards on behalf of the Transportation Department. There are fees in place that are supposed to cover the costs of the Driver’s license offices providing the service but the cost has gone up in the last 30 years and counties are having to use their funds to subsidize their cost to administer drivers licenses in their counties. This fee increase would relieve that financial burden on counties. Passed, 41-28.

The Idaho Senate

House Bill 224:

On the Senate Floor today, they passed some bunch of appropriations bills including the budget for the Idaho Commission on including House Bill 224 regarding Hispanic Affairs today. The budget set by JFAC for the commission for next year comes to just $250,300 in state general funds, $418,400 total. The commission has just three employees; the budget shows a 0.7% increase in state funding. Total funds are up by nearly 6%, but that’s because the commission received authorization to spend a $20,000 smoking cessation and prevention grant. This bill barely slid through the house 35-30. The bill will now go to the Governor’s desk either for his signature or for a veto.  

Senate Bill 1136a:

Also in the Senate, they went to General Orders to amend Senate Bill 1136a sponsored by Sen. Kelly Arthur Anthon, R-Burley, and Sen. Chuck Winder, R-Bosie. The bill’s intent is 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. They changed some wording. For example, instead of “emergency” it now says “peril”. They added a new amendment focused on the state of peril and the length and termination of one. You can view those changes in the Senate Journal HERE.

Senate Bill 1108a:

This morning the Senate moved Senate Bill 1108a to the 14th order for possible amendment. This bill is sponsored by Sen. Jim Rice, R-Caldwell. This legislation makes a change to the formula for the growth of property tax budgets and provides relief for property owners from increasing property tax. The Senator’s unanimously agreed to move this bill to the 14th ORder. If no amendment is proposed, the bill dies.

To read all our notes from the 2021 session, click HERE.