Idaho legislature doubles down on abortion laws

The Idaho Legislature meets in Boise. Photo credit:

Financial literacy

James Petzke introduced a bill that would require high school students to take a financial literacy course in order to graduate — at least one course on personal finance and money management.

The bill’s statement of purpose said the class should teach students the basics of real-world personal finance and how to make sound financial decisions in their everyday lives.

According to the bill, instruction must include information about:

— The influence of money on human behavior

— Various types of bank accounts

— Various investment options and calculating net worth

— Various types of credit and how credit rating is determined

— Financing a college education

— Types of insurance associated with independent living

— The purpose of the tax system and how it relates to each citizen and their citizen’s income

— Building a budget for independent living

— Recognizing and utilizing modern consumer skills, tools and practices

“I think we can have greater confidence that when kids graduate and move on to that next stage in life that they’ll have a grasp of sort of those fundamentals to help them be successful and to understand how to navigate some of those financial decisions that they’re going to have to make,” said Britt Raybould, a representative from Madison County. “It just gives them a really valuable set of skills.”

Transporting minors to get an abortion

Idaho made national news by criminalizing the transporting of a pregnant minor to receive an abortion in another state, adding it to the state’s definition of human trafficking and anyone caught would be subject to 2-5 years in prison.

“We will make sure that we have top-notch legal authority to deal with this,” said Barbara Ehardt, the sponsor of the bill, in an Idaho Capital Sun article. “I don’t think any of us want to see our minors not only trafficked, but in this situation.”

A statement from Planned Parenthood said criminalizing legal health care in other states is outside of the legislature’s authority.

“Preventing people — including minors — from accessing abortion is dangerous and irresponsible,” said Rebecca Gibron, CEO of Planned Parenthood Great Northwest. “I can’t think of anything more cruel than a state forcing a child to remain pregnant and punishing people who try to help them. Shame on these lawmakers. All Idahoans should be paying attention to this extreme attempt at government overreach to control our movements in and out of the state of Idaho. This is merely the tip of the iceberg, and we won’t stand for it.”

Shielding criminal records

Minority leader Ilana Rubel introduced the Clean Slate Act.

The Clean Slate Act would permit those with minor non-violent, non-sexual offenses to petition one offense to seal the offense from public record. This would only be allowed if at least five years had passed since their sentence had been completed.

In God we trust

Representatives Jeff J. Cornilles and Bruce D. Skaug introduced a bill to display the national motto “In God We Trust” in public school buildings supervised by the state board of education or the board of regents of the University of Idaho.

The poster would have to be privately funded and have to follow specific guidelines such as including a representation of the United States flag and/or a representation of the flag and only including black, white, gold, or silver in the background and lettering.

The poster would also need to be hung somewhere easily seen.

“This will affirm for students, staff and the general public the historical and ongoing significance of our nation’s motto,” said the bill’s statement of purpose.

House rule changes

Ehardt proposed a change to House rules deciding how bills can receive hearings after being introduced.

Current House rules require approval from the committee chairman in order for a bill to receive a hearing. The legislation would create a path forward so that a bill can be heard even if the Chairman will not hear the legislation, all you need is support from 50% of the committee.

Raybould said that working with the chairman in her experience has helped her create better bills.

“I remain convinced that putting ourselves in a position where we’re working with each other, trying to find agreement and move forward with things, I think it ends up with really positive outcomes,” Raybould said. “If we start saying that we don’t have an obligation to work with others and to figure out how to make legislation as good as it can possibly be, it just strikes me as you’re trying to go around the process when the process has actually worked pretty well.”

Ehardt’s legislation also removes personal bills. Personal bills serve as opportunities for legislators to share their ideas with the public on a particular topic.

Since the bill was proposed as a House resolution, it will only apply to members of the House. The resolution will not be voted on by members of the Senate or signed by the governor.