Major Legislation

2021 Legislature 

An asterisk indicates recent action.  For details on each bill, go to https://legislature.idaho.gov/sessioninfo/.

Current bills to watch

*To limit the length of time a governor may maintain a declaration of extreme peril without concurrence by the legislature, protect Idaho workers as essential, reaffirm the legislature’s authority to end emergency declarations and/or emergency regulations, protect right to peaceable assembly and free exercise of religion, protect Idahoans’ right to bear arms during emergencies, and prohibits governor from unilaterally altering or suspending Idaho Code. SB 1136a combines the content of previous bills,  including House bills 16, 98, and 135 , and Senate bills 1003 and 1135. It has passed the Senate, 27-7-1 and passed the House, 54-16. An amended version then passed the Senate and House. HB135, also active, has passed the House 49-20-1 and the Senate 25-10.

To require approval by 2/3rds of both houses of the legislature to rename, rededicate, or relocate any item on state property named for an historical person or event. HB 90 has replaced HB65 and has been approved by the House, 51-19.

To prevent a taxing body from revealing whether or how much a new levy will affect the current tax rate. HB66 passed the House 46-24.

To make trustees primarily responsible for deciding epidemic procedures for K-12 schools and community colleges. LAW HB67 passed the House 65-5 and the Senate 31-3-1; HB 68 passed the House 59-11 and the Senate 27-7-1.

To allow state agencies to hire their own lawyers at costs 3 to 8 times as much as taxpayers would pay through the Attorney General’s office. HB101 passed the House 54-15-1.

*To eliminate the August election date for school levies and bonds. HB106 passed the House 45-24-1, but was killed in the Senate. A House amendment added this to SB 1061.

To allow school faculty and staff to carry firearms to school if they hold an advanced concealed weapons certificate. HB 122 gives the school board no say in the matter. It passed the House, 52-18. SB 1135 is still in committee.

To allow school boards to set teacher compensation without negotating with teachers. HB174 passed the House 45-25.

To require school districts to provide in-person education even during emergencies in cases where “safety requirements can be developed.” HB 175 passed the House 55-14-1 and the Senate 35-0.

*To appropriate $175 million of COVID relief funds to rent and utility assistance. LAW HB176 passed the House 59-8-3 and the Senate 34-0-1.

To eliminate the $100 per person grocery tax credit and to lower the sales tax 0.007 % and income tax up to 0.4%. HB199 has been pulled back. See HB332.

To fund Medicaid Expansion for another year. LAW. Thirty-one Republicans remain opposed to Medicaid Expansion. HB216 passed the House 37-31-2 with half of Canyon County’s representatives voting against it. It passed the Senate 24-5-1. House members voting nay included : *Adams (D13), Andrus, Armstrong, Barbieri, *Boyle (D9), Christensen, *Crane (D13), DeMordaunt, Dixon, Ehardt, Ferch, Gestrin, Giddings, Hanks, Harris, Kingsley, Mendive, Monks, Moon, Moyle, Nate, *Nichols(Brooks) (D11), Okuniewicz, Palmer, Scott, Shepherd, *Skaug (D12), von Ehlinger, Weber, Wisniewski, Young. * indicates Canyon County.

To allow school districts and charter schools to issue local teaching certificates to any person with a bachelor’s degree and no criminal record or contagious ailment. HB221 passed the House, 54-13-3, but is being held in the Senate Education Committee.

*To make it a felony to carry ballots to the Elections Office for non-relatives and to allow a person to carry only six ballots at a time for relatives. HB223 passed the House 56-12-2. The Senate is considering amendments.

To accept a $6 million government grant for early childhood education. HB 226 failed by a vote of 34-36. Those who voted ‘nay’ include Adams, Andrus, Armstrong, Barbieri, Boyle, Christensen, Crane, DeMordaunt, Dixon, Ehardt, Ferch, Gestrin, Giddings, Hanks, Harris, Holtzclaw, Kingsley, Marshall, McCrostie, Mendive, Mitchell, Monks, Moon, Moyle, Nate, Nichols, Okuniewicz, Palmer, Scott, Shepherd, Skaug, Vander Woude, von Ehlinger, Weber, Wisniewski, Young. (McCrostie changed his vote to nay so he could ask for a revote.) A new bill has passed JFAC.

To require school districts not providing full-time in-person instruction for their students to pay expenses for parents who go elsewhere to get their children such training. HB247 was introduced Feb. 25. It is Supt. Ybarra’s response to complaints during the coronavirus.

To require parents to send the school permission any time sexual topics other than the mechanics of reproduction are to be discussed. SB 249 has passed the House 56-12.

To require a state-issued drivers’ license or photo ID in order to vote. Student IDs will no longer be accepted. HB 255 was introduced Feb. 26.

To fund the Attorney General’s office. HB 271 failed 29-40-1.

To take money from any school district that is not able to provide full-time in-person instruction by April 1 if any child’s parents wish to seek other educational opportunities. HB293 has passed the House, 55-15.

*To allot $5 million for $500 education grants for students with unique educational needs and $5 million for grants over $6,000 for students from public schools who wish to switch to private ones. HB294 (formerly HB215) has passed the House 47-22-1, but faied in the Senate 16-18-1. This bill would essentially pay parents $6,000 to deny their kids a formal education. There are no restrictions on size, hours, or curricula of private schools and some have only 2-4 students. Less than 0.01% of students will receive funds and those students will have preferred access in succeeding years. It appears $30 million in Federal funds is requested to initiatve the program. The Senate was considering striking the scholarship portion from the bill.

*HB 332. To lower income taxes by 0.125% for the lowest bracket and up to 0.425% for the highest. In addition, the first year each Idahoan would receive a one-time payment of $50 or 9% of state taxes paid in 2019, whichever is higher.  The ongoing tax saving has been estimated at $13 a year for a couple earning $25,000 and $10,000 a year for a couple earning $1 million.The bill is expected to cut revenue by $390 million and impose withdrawal of a second $390 million in Federal COVID-19 aid. It may require cuts in spending for schools and government services and could make improvements impossible for decades. HB 332 passed the House, 58-12, on a straight party vote. It is up for amendment in the Senate.

To prohibit state or local governments, including schools, from requiring face masks to slow the spread of diseases.  HB339 is being amended.

To fund the Catastrophic Health Care Program for the remainder of 2021. HB 345 provides $100 less than the Senate bill the House rejected earlier.

*To allow the Secretary of State to order post-election audits of paper ballots. Cost is estimated at $100,000 per election. HB349 passed the House 58-12.

*To ensure uniform laws across the state on the taxation and sale of tobacco products. HB363 passed the House 61-7-2.

To end the current restriction limiting gatherings to 50 persons. HCR 5 has passed the House, 55-15.

To amend the Idaho Constitution so that legislative leaders must convene a special session within 15 days after receiving a written request from 60% of the members of each house. HJR 1 passed the House 51-18 and is slated for a Senate vote. The Senate passed a similar bill, SJR 102, by 24-11.

To limit budget growth of local taxing units. SB1021 is still in the Local Government and Taxation Committee.

*To add $4 million to the legislature’s Legal Defense Fund. LAW. SB1022 passed the Senate, 27-7-1, and the House, 57-11-2.

To reimburse persons who were wrongfully imprisoned. LAW. S1027 passed the Senate and the House with unanimous votes.

To authorize a Work Readiness Diploma for those who have completed technical programs. SB1039a passed the Senate 32-0-3 and is slated for a House vote. It has been amended.

To fund dual-credit courses for students in private schools. SB1045 passed the Senate 28-6.

To allow an alternate curriculum within a public school if parents of 24 students request it. S1046a is scheduled for a vote.

*To require county approval of health districts orders within 7 days and every 30 days thereafter. LAW. SB1060 passed the Senate 32-1-2 and the House 66-2-2.

To ‘provide’ for a four-week summer session prior to kindergarten for students not yet ready. No funding is provided. SB1075 passed the Senate 32-1-2.

To fund the Catastrophic Health Fund for the remainder of this fiscal year. SB 1081 passed the Senate 30-4-1. It failed 33-35-2 in the House. See bill HB 345.

*To raise the legal age for possession of tobacco or electronic smoking devices to 21. SB 1087 passed the Senate 25-10-0, but was defeated in the House 28-40-2.

*To require that rental fees be included in the lease agreement or other documents. SB 1088 passed the Senate 26-8-1, but was defeated in the House 28-40-2.

*To set penalties for rape of juveniles and to remove the exemption for husbands. SB 1089 passed the Senate 34-0-1 and the House 70=0. Sponsors include Democrats Melissa Wintrow and Colin Nash and Republican Linda Hartgen.

To limit the amount of property tax that local government entities may assess. SB1108a was defeated in the Senate, 17-18.

To create the Idaho Promise mentor program to help students achieve training goals after graduation. Proposed by Grant Burgoyne and Janie Ward-Engelking. SB1109 failed the Senate with a 17-17-1 vote and a nay vote from the Lt. Gov.

*To require petitions to place an initiative on the ballot to include signatures from 6% of the voters in all 35 legislative districts. SB1110 passed the Senate 26-9-0 and the House by 51-18-1.

To allow a special session of the legislature for a specified purpose when requested by 60% of the members of each house. SB1112a has passed the Senate 23-10-2.

To make a driving authorization card available to non-citizen who’ve been trained and tested. SB1132 died in committee.

To allow government agencies to provide broadband services within their boundaries. SB1149 was introduced Feb. 26.

To require that initiative signatures be signed in the state of Idaho so signatures of out-of-state military personnel and students will not be counted. SB 1150 passed the Senate 28-6-1.

*To fund the Department of Health and Welfare. SB1163 passed the Senate 24-9-2, but failed the House 27-42-1.

*To forbid use of private money to administer elections. SB1168 passed the Senate 28-7.

To end the Governor’s public health order which, among other things, limits the size of gatherings and mandates masks at assisted living facilities. SCR 103 is in the Senate State Affairs Committee. HCR2 to lift restrictions on meetings of over 10 has passed the House, 55-15.

To insert Idaho’s current drug laws into the Idaho Constitution so they can’t be changed by initiative.  A Constitutional amendment requires support by a 2/3 majority in both houses and a simple majority of voters. SJR 101 passed the Senate, 24-11.

To allow the legislature to call itself into session. SJR 102 passed the Senate 24-11. A similar resolution, HJR 1 has passed the House.

To impeach Governor Little.  House State Affairs Chair Ron Crane blocked printing. 

Other bills introduced by Democrats

To prohibit the legislature from amending requirements for initiatives without voter approval. A Constitutional amendment requires support by a 2/3 majority in both houses and a simple majority of voters. Proposed by Colin Nash. HJR2 is in the Ways and Means Committee.

To ban mental health professionals from using of ‘conversion therapy’ to change the sexual orientation or gender identity of any teen . Proposed by John McCrostie. HB52 is now in the Ways and Means Committee.

To increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour by July 1, 2023. Proposed by Grant Burgoyne. SB1028 is in the Senate State Affairs Committee.

To add the words “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” to the Idaho Human Rights Act. Proposed by Melissa Wintrow and 11 co-signers. SB1030 is in the Senate State Affairs Committee.

To provide for student loan forgiveness for rural teachers. SB1117 failed in the Senate Education committee. This was a Democratic bill sponsored by Janie Ward-Engelking and Sally Toone.