The Idaho Legislature adjourned earlier this month after spending the last three months creating policies to benefit the people living in Idaho.
“Working together, we achieved major investments in teacher pay, workforce training, roads, water and other critical infrastructure to improve the lives of the people we serve, in addition to passing simple enduring property tax relief,” said Governor Brad Little in a press release. “I am grateful my legislative partners prioritized my ‘Idaho First’ plan to keep Idaho strong and prosperous for many years to come,”
Britt Raybould, a representative for Madison County in the Idaho House of Representatives, said it was impressive what the legislature was able to do this session.
“We came and we did the thing that a lot of folks were asking for — they wanted property tax relief, which was done,” Raybould said. “They wanted more investment in education, and that included increasing teacher pay, which we got done. Then there was the need to do additional investment into infrastructure, such as improving roads and improving our water infrastructure. The fact that we got all three of those things done in one session from my perspective is huge.”
The Idaho Legislature passed over 300 pieces of legislation. Here are some of the bills that became law and will be enacted within the next year.
HB 292 will provide up to $954 million in property tax relief for Idahoans over the next three years. This bill was only one of four that the governor vetoed throughout the session.
“The first bill was a mixed bag of policies that would have made significant changes to education, transportation infrastructure and public defense funding,” said Lieutenant Governor Scott Bedke in a press release. “The Legislature then drafted a series of “trailer” bills designed to keep property tax relief simple, competitive and long-lasting. Idahoans will now receive $117 million of ongoing property tax relief with no unintended consequences to local control, school bonding, ambulance and fire district funding or needed transportation projects across Idaho counties. After back-to-back-to-back years of tax relief, no other state has given back more taxpayer money per capita than Idaho has.”
However, the legislature overrode the veto and passed HB 376 to address the governor’s concerns.
Idaho became the first state to pass a law regarding traveling across state lines to receive abortion care.
“HB 242 criminalizes an older sister, grandmother, or other trusted adult who helps a teenager across state lines for a legal abortion,” said Lauren Necochea, the chair of the Idaho Democratic Party in a press release. “The unconstitutional bill makes such assistance punishable by up to five years in prison. It will force young victims of rape or incest who can’t safely report these crimes to their parents to carry unwanted pregnancies to term. The vague language could also criminalize nonprofits that inform young women of their options.”
Republicans saw the bill as reiterating a commitment to the unborn.
“Abortion has been — and is likely to remain — a divisive civic topic,” said Dorothy Moon, the chairwoman of the Idaho GOP, in a press release. “But Idaho’s people and legislators have enacted a framework that works for our families and embodies our commitments to the unborn.”
The Idaho Legislature also adopted a joint memorial addressed to members of Idaho’s Congressional delegation such as Mike Simpson, Russ Fulcher, Jim Risch and Mike Crapo.
According to the memorial’s statement of purpose, this joint memorial requests the Congress of the United States to limit the jurisdiction of the lower federal courts from hearing the cases that relate to state legislative authority to pass laws regarding abortion since Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health ruled that abortion laws were to be left to the states.
Idaho passed four laws relating to voting and the electoral process:
— Removing student ID cards as a valid form of voter identification (HB 124).
— Moving the presidential primary election from March to May (HB 138).
— Prohibiting ranked-choice voting (HB 179).
“We support the prohibition of ranked-choice voting and instant runoff voting in any local, statewide or federal election held in the state to ensure every vote is counted accurately and the candidate with the most votes is elected,” said the bill’s statement of purpose.
— Standardizing the voter registration process by requiring each applicant to submit a completed application, show proof of identity and show proof of residence, regardless of the manner of registration (HB 340).
Two bills became the center for the rights of transgender youth and what those should be.
First, S1100 requires public schools maintain separate bathrooms, locker rooms, showers, dressing areas and overnight accommodations for biological boys and biological girls. However, the bill also stipulated that the schools would need to provide reasonable accommodations for any student who is unwilling or unable to use those facilities.
Second, HB 71 — also known as The Vulnerable Child Protective Act. The bill prohibits puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones and sex reassignment surgeries for children under the age of 18 when administered or performed for the purpose of changing the appearance of a child’s sex.
Necochea warned of potential consequences of implementing this bill.
“(Governor Little’s) decision criminalizes treatments proven to reduce suicidality, anxiety and depression among transgender youth,” Necochea said.”This legislation harms our vulnerable kids the most. It also hurts entire communities. Our friends and neighbors will be driven out of state. The continued criminalization of standard care endorsed by major medical associations will push more doctors to leave Idaho.”
Governor Little signed pieces of legislation on a variety of topics, including:
— Allowing for firing squads to be used as a means of execution if lethal injection is unavailable (HB 186).
— Preventing the presence of the TikTok application on any state government-issued device or network under state control or agency or entity funded by state appropriations (HB 274).
— Allowing employees of public colleges, school districts and charter schools to pray at any time during which they are otherwise free to engage in personal conversations or other personal conduct (HB 182).
“This bill protects our First Amendment right to freedom of religion and the ability to exercise our individual expression without fear of repercussion at a public college, school district or charter school,” said the bill’s statement of purpose.