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Legislative Update March 5th 2022

Dear Friends,

Below are some recent activities and highlights taking place in the Idaho Capitol. We hope you enjoy the information. For more details, you can go to legislature.idaho.gov where you will find bills, committee recordings, and live stream videos of our House and Senate floor sessions. I appreciate your interest and involvement.

Sincerely,

Abby Lee

ukraineHouse Passes Bipartisan Memorial Condemning Russian Aggression in UkraineOn Wednesday, in response to the ongoing crisis in Ukraine and Russian President Vladimir Putin’s unchecked aggression, Representative Matthew Bundy (R-Mountain Home) introduced House Joint Memorial 006, a bipartisan memorial condemning Russia. The memorial, co-sponsored by Representative Colin Nash (D-Boise), “commends the courage and resolve shown by the Ukrainian people in defending their country against Russian aggressors.” Bundy, who represents Mountain Home, said “It was an honor for me to stand in front of the Idaho State House of Representatives to declare our support for Ukraine and her citizens as stated in House Joint Memorial 006. We support Ukraine’s desire to determine their own future and for their desire to seek freedom from oppression.  As a State, we admire the courage of the Ukrainian people, and we will support them in any way we can in the defense of their freedoms, homes and nation.” The bill heads to the Senate where it is expected to be approved on a bipartisan basis. Senator Mark Harris voiced support for the measure, “Idaho’s Senate Republican Caucus condemns Russian aggression and stands with the Ukrainian people as they fight to protect their country and homeland against Putin’s authoritarian and anti-democratic actions.”essential caregiverSenate Considering a Bill to Protect the Right to Essential Caregiver Visitation On Tuesday, the Senate Health and Welfare heard testimony on Senate Bill 1353, a bill that would protect the right of a healthcare facility resident access to and visitation from his or her essential caregiver. The bill, authored by Senator Michelle Stennett (D-Ketchum) is co-sponsored by Senators Chuck Winder (R-Boise) and Abby Lee (R-Fruitland). This bill recognizes the vital role played by caregivers, who often perform critical functions for residents, in some cases serving as the individual’s medical power of attorney. The bill, should it become law, protects seniors and other residents of longterm care facilities the indignity of being cutoff from their caregivers. The bill was passed out of committee with a do-pass recommendation and will be considered by the full Senate.Senate Passes Rural Teacher Incentives BillOn February 25, the Senate passed Senate Bill 1290, a bill that would provide incentives for rural teachers. The incentives range from grants to cover student loans, postgraduate studies, or the cost of pursuing additional teaching endorsements. The bill would make grants available for teachers in rural or high-poverty districts and is aimed at both recruiting new teachers and increasing retention for current teachers. Sponsored by Senator Janie Ward-Engelking (D-Boise), the bill has bipartisan support. Senate Education Committee chairman Steven Thayn (R-Emmett) said the bill would provide another recruiting tool for rural districts, who have faced challenges in teacher staffing. Senator Robert Blair (R-Kendrick) agreed, noting that in his district one school had an open position for more than three months. The bill passed 25-7 and is under consideration by the House Education Committee.CyberCybersecurity Protection Bill Moves ForwardOn Tuesday, the Senate received House Bill 621 from the House of Representatives, a bill that would protect certain cybersecurity records from disclosure. The House passed the bill 48-20 with support from both Republicans and Democrats. If signed into law, the bill would exempt the disclosure of the nature, location, and function of certain cybersecurity devices, systems, or programs used by a government entity to prevent terrorist attacks. The bill will not allow government entities to spy on American citizens absent a legitimate terrorist or security threat. The bill, proposed by the Association of Idaho Cities, was sponsored in the House by Representative Dustin Manwaring (R-Pocatello). “It’s a straightforward exemption of records that relate to cybersecurity,” Manwaring shared during debate on the bill, noting that ransomware attacks are costly and may target local governments like cities and school districts.Measure to Fight Opioid Abuse Under Consideration in the HouseOn Wednesday morning, Rep. Troy introduced House Bill 688, to provide clarity on how the Behavioral Health Council makes recommendations to use the Opioid Settlement Fund in accordance with the terms of the applicable settlement or judgement. It also removes the sunset clause. Each of Idaho’s 44 counties and all 24 eligible cities participated in the national settlement.  These settlements resolve legal claims by participating States and local governments stemming from actions that fueled the opioid-addiction crisis. Because the State of Idaho participated in the agreement, local governments within the State were eligible to participate and receive benefits under the agreements. Johnson & Johnson and its U.S.-based Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies will pay up to $5 billion to the nationwide settlement, according to a statement from the drugmaker. AmerisourceBergen will pay $6.1 billion, Cardinal Health will pay $6 billion and McKesson will pay $7.4 billion. Those amounts are payable over 18 years.It is the second-largest multi-state agreement in United States history, behind only the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement in 1998.baseballHouse Recognizes the American Legion National Champions, the Idaho Falls BanditsHouse Concurrent Resolution 31 has been sent to the floor with a do pass recommendation in order to recognize the accomplishments of the Idaho Falls Bandits baseball team. The Bandits won the American Legion National Championship in Shelby, North Carolina last August. The Idaho Falls team from Idaho Post 56 entered the 2021 American Legion World Series as the event’s last champion, from 2019. Idaho Falls was only the 14th team to appear in back-to-back ALWS title games, and become only the sixth back-to-back ALWS champion – a huge accomplishment for the team and their coach!buy idahoBuy Idaho Hosts 28th Annual Capitol Trade ShowOn Wednesday, the Capitol hosted Buy Idaho’s 28th Capitol Trade Show. This event gives local small businesses the opportunity to showcase their products and services. Businesses from all over Idaho setup displays of their professions, ranging from plants, woodworking, banking, magazines, and many more local specialties. The organization’s mission is “Buy Idaho is an independent business alliance committed to promoting the economic prosperity of locally owned businesses through collective group branding, collaboration with government agencies, and consumer education on the value of purchasing locally,” and that is exactly what the event was about!fire Professional Firefighters of Idaho Visit LawmakersOn Monday evening, the Grove Hotel hosted the Professional Firefighters of Idaho Reception; an event that gave legislatures the opportunity to shake hands with some of Idaho’s bravest. It was a time to show thanks and appreciation for the admirable work that these men and women do to protect our communities.Numbersidaho by the numbers week 8Water Development Provides Significant Value to Idaho’s EconomyWater continues to be an important topic at the Idaho Legislature. On Thursday, Paul Arrington, the Executive Director of Idaho Water Users Association, presented to the Senate Agricultural Affairs Committee. He testified to the overwhelming economic values of Idaho’s water resources and provided data from Bureau of Reclamation (table above). Idaho’s agricultural industry relies on water. A University of Idaho report from 2022 found that in 2019, Idaho’s agriculture industry produced $29.3B in total sales and employed 129,500 people.  The committee also heard an update from Idaho Water Resources Board Chairman Jeff Raybould. He reported that the Joint Finance and Appropriations Committee has approved the Idaho Water Resources budget for FY23. The budget includes $75M for water management projects to address aging water infrastructure. The committee approved the Governor’s recommendation for $100M in federal ARPA funds, with a total of $250M over the four years. The funds will be used for the Anderson Ranch Dam raise ($90M), the Mountain Home Air Force Base water pipeline and pump station, and recharge projects on the Eastern Snake Plain aquifer. The board expects to allocate $90M for the Anderson Ranch Dam project; $30M for the Mountain Home Air Force Base project; and $75M for the Snake Plain recharge. The Board has developed robust criteria to evaluate projects based on their ability to achieve water supply sustainability on a regional and statewide basis. The Board continues to work on other water projects around the state, including cloud seeding in river basins around the state, to help the State ensure water sustainability and security. Bill TrackerS1226 This legislation declares that Idaho students can be designated as self-directed learners if they meet the criteria laid out in the bill. Introduced, printed and referred to Senate Education. S1228 Repeals existing law relating to enclosures of reservoirs and dumps. Passed the Senate 35-0 and filed for its third reading in House Resources and Conservation. S1239 This bill would require the legislative session to end on or before the last Friday in March each year unless two-thirds of each house votes to go longer. A similar bill was introduced last year, but died in the house. Introduced, printed and referred to Senate State Affairs. Read second time as amended, filed for Third reading. S1241  This bill makes a change to Idaho Code by increasing the maximum value of a home that qualifies for the property tax reduction program (aka Circuit Breaker) to assist more low-income applicants to remain in their homes. Reported out of Senate Local Government & Taxation with a do-pass recommendation. Referred to House Revenue and Taxation.  S1249  This bill corrects an error in last year’s H 389 so that expiring Urban Renewal Districts come into local property tax budgets at eighty percent not subject to the eight percent cap. It also closes an unintended loophole regarding the use of foregone balances in property tax budgets. Reported out of Senate Local Government & Taxation with a do-pass recommendation. Passed the Senate 34-0-1 and referred to House Revenue and Taxation. Signed by the Governor on 2/23/22. S1254 Amends, repeals, and adds to existing law to remove certain provisions regarding air quality related to motor vehicles and to provide revised provisions regarding air quality programs. Reported out without recommendation as amended. Amendments ordered printed, referred for engrossment. Passed the Senate 29-6, sent to the House. Read First Time, Referred to Transportation & Defense. S1255  This bill creates The Empowering Parents Grant Program which will provide funding to parents to help meet their child’s educational needs and to address any learning loss with grants of $1,000 per student or a maximum of $3,000 per family for public and non-public students. Signed by the Governor on 3/01/22. S1262  This legislation enhances the protections for firearms, ammunition, and components during a declared disaster emergency. Signed by the Governor on 2/25/22. S1264 Amends existing law to revise legislative findings and to revise provisions regarding rescission. Passed the Senate 22-10-3, sent to the House. S1267 Amends existing law to provide an exemption from stopping and inspection for certain private vehicles and horse trailers. Reported enrolled; signed by President; to House for signature of Speaker. S1280 This bill would define dyslexia in Idaho code, and recognize the unique influence and challenges students with characteristics of dyslexia face in developing their reading and literacy skills. The bill would require that school districts and charter schools assess students in kindergarten through fifth grade for characteristics of dyslexia so plans for specific interventions can be identified and offered. Passed the Senate 33-0-2 and referred to House Education. S1287 Adds to existing law to establish the rural nursing loan repayment program. Failed 14-17-4. S1291 Amends existing law to provide alternative methods of obtaining certain certifications. Reported out without recommendation as amended. Amendments ordered printed, referred for engrossment. Passed the Senate 28-7 and referred to House Education.  S1311 Adds to existing law to designate the Idaho cut as the official state cut of Idaho for faceted gemstones. Passed the Senate 32-0-3 and referred to House State Affairs.  S1319 This bill amends contracts regarding school transportation services. Reported out of Committee with Do Pass Recommendation. Passed the Senate 32-0-3 and referred to House Education. S1321 Amends existing law regarding assault or battery upon employees of a public or consumer-owned utility. Passed 31-2-2 referred to House Judiciary, Rules & Administration.  S1324 Amends existing law to remove provisions regarding sexual abuse and sexual battery of certain minors. Filed for Third Reading. Passed 32-0-3 referred to House Judiciary, Rules & Administration. 1332 Amends existing law to provide for confidential relations and communications for employees and volunteers at a domestic or sexual violence program in certain instances. Passed 29-4-2, sent to House, Read First Time, Referred to Judiciary, Rules & Administration.  S1333 Amends existing law to revise the number of judges in the Fourth Judicial District and to revise provisions regarding resident chambers. Passed 32-0-3 referred to House Judiciary, Rules & Administration. S1337 Amends existing law to revise provisions regarding reporting requirements during a nonelection year. Amendments ordered printed; referred for engrossment. Read first time as amended, filed for second reading.  S1345 Amends existing law to revise provisions regarding the careless exposure of barbed wire and to revise penalties. Referred to Agricultural Affairs. Reported out of Committee with Do Pass Recommendation; Filed for third reading.  SCR 115 States findings of the Legislature and supports the development of civics standards for Idaho students. Read first time, referred to education.  SCR 117 States findings of the Legislature and recognizes the 50th anniversary of the Sawtooth National Recreation Act and celebrates the contributions that Idahoans have made to protect and appreciate this iconic landscape in Idaho. Read second time, filed for third reading.  SCR 119 States findings of the Legislature and reaffirms Idaho’s commitment to a strong relationship with Taiwan. Adopted, Title apvd – to House.  HCR 29 States findings of the Legislature and encourages certain officers, agencies, and employees of the State to become informed about the impacts of traumatic childhood experiences and to implement interventions and practices to develop resilience in children and adults who have suffered from traumatic childhood experiences. Ordered Transmitted to Secretary of State. Delivered to Secretary of State at 10:24 a.m. on February 24, 2022. HB 436  Income tax rebate; reduces independent and corporate income tax rate. House passed 57-13; Passed Senate 27-7-1. Signed by the Governor on February 4, 2022. HB 441 This bill offers absentee ballot assistance for those in nursing care facilities by designating three authorized sources of voter assistance. Referred to House State Affairs. HB 443: This proposed legislation will create a dedicated fund to bring school district employees’ healthcare coverage up to the same standard as that of state employees. The bill passed the House 55-14, passed the Senate 32-3 and has been signed by the Governor on 2/08/22.  H 444 Amends 2021 session law to extend a sunset date to July 1, 2023. Filed for a second reading with Do Pass recommendation. Signed by the Governor on 2/24/22.  HB 450  This proposed legislation will provide employers with unemployment insurance tax rate stability and consistency by extending the 2021 unemployment insurance base tax rate over a period of two years. This will result in a tax savings of $64 million for Idaho businesses over the next two years. Reported Signed by Governor on February 18, 2022. H 461 This bill aims to update Idaho code 33-4302 so that the child or spouse of a military member who has fallen in combat is eligible for this scholarship, seeing that they meet other prerequisites laid out in the bill. Passed the House 67-0 and filed for a third Senate reading. Passed the Senate 33-0. Signed by President; returned to House.  469 Amends existing law to distribute money to the Peace Officers Standards and Training Fund and to revert certain monies to the General Fund. Passed the House 57-10-3. Retained on the Senate reading calendar.  H 506 This bill would amend Section 33-4302(7) of Idaho Code to allow the Idaho Division of Veterans Services to determine disability for members of the Armed Forces, instead of the United States Social Security Administration. Passed the House 66-0 and filed for a third Senate reading. Passed the Senate 33-0. Signed by President; returned to House.  H533 Amends existing law to allow for certain employees to continue to receive master educator premiums. Passed 52-15-3, Retained on the Senate reading calendar. H559 Adds to existing law to authorize the use of certain archery equipment. Passed the House 63-0-7 and filed for a third Senate reading. Passed the Senate 30-3-2. Signed by President; returned to House.  H560 Amends existing law to revise a provision regarding powers of the council. Passed the House 65-0-5 and filed for third Senate reading.  H598 Amends existing law to provide a certain exception regarding DNA analysis for quality control. Passed the House 66-0-4 and referred to Senate Health &  Welfare. H685 Amends existing law to revise provisions regarding the postsecondary credit scholarship. Passed 67-0-3, Title apvd – to Senate. H688 Amends existing law to revise a provision regarding use of moneys in the fund, to provide that certain recommendations to the Governor be made by a certain date, and to remove a provision regarding a sunset date. Reported out of Committee with Do Pass Recommendation, filed for third reading.  H701 Adds to existing law to establish the Idaho Workforce Housing Fund and to provide for the allocation of funds. Reported out of Committee with Do Pass Recommendation, Filed for Second Reading. Reported out of Committee with Do Pass Recommendation, Filed for Second Reading.  H703 Amends, repeals, and adds to existing law to reestablish the Homeowner’s Association Act. Passed 63-3-4, Title apvd – to Senate.

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