This week has been extremely light in meetings - including the world's fastest KCBOCC Business meeting EVER - so there hasn't been much to recap.
The Kootenai County Republican Central Committee is having their annual legislative town hall this Saturday, February 4, at Candlelight Christian Fellowship. This is your time to hear our legislators speak on what's happening in Boise and answer your questions about any state issues you may have.
I will be in Moscow for a youth hockey tournament and will be unable to attend. I hope everyone can attend for me and give me an update after the fact. :)
Below are a 8 current hot topic bills that have been brought to committee by the help of our local legislators. Although not all of our legislators have had a chance to be the front name on this legislation, they have all had their fingers touching these bills.
Currently waiting for committee hearing in Senate Education Committee. This bill is drafted after the Arizona education savings account program that passed this last summer. This bill is an opt-in, no strings attached account that "would allow dollars to follow students so parents could access the education services and environments that work best for their children."
Citizens Alliance of Idaho Executive Director Matt Edwards put together a thread about how the ESA would work for Idaho students - no matter if they're public schooled, private schooled, or homeschooled. Read the whole thread here or on Twitter here.
Currently waiting for a committee hearing in Senate Health & Welfare Committee. Senator Bjerke drafted this legislation after hearing his constituents' issues on the campaign trail. This bill would allow a patient to have the right to in-person visitation; healthcare facilities MUST allow in-person visitation for any major circumstances, no matter the healthcare facility's mandates.
Major circumstances include:
During childbirth, including labor and delivery;
If the patient or resident is under the age of eighteen (18) years;
If the patient or resident lived with family prior to being admitted to the facility and is struggling with the change in environment and lack of in-person family support;
If the patient or resident is making at least one (1) major medical decision ...and more
Watch Senator Bjerke introduce this legislation in the print hearing here.
Currently waiting for a committee hearing in Senate State Affairs Committee. This legislation "protects an individual if they merely threaten the use of force in a lawful self-defense situation, and it offers a person who uses lawful force a legal opportunity in the courts to claim self-defense immunity. The legislation also provides opportunities for the recovery of costs in certain prosecutions."
If Idaho has its own Kyle R1ttenh0use situation (God forbid) and that person was found innocent by self-defense, that person would have the opportunity to recoup costs from being prosecuted. This bill would help prosecutors think twice before prosecuting someone who was clearly defending himself, his family, or his home.
This joint resolution will change ballot initiative rules to more evenly distribute signatures. Currently, in order for an initiative get on a ballot, a group has to get signatures from 6% of qualified registered voters in 18 districts. What about the other voters in other districts?
This joint resolution would have ensured that those districts would also have a say about what goes on the ballot, requiring 6% of qualified registered voters in ALL 35 districts instead of only 18. Supporters of this change say that the rural districts should have a say in some of the initiatives that big city districts want to pass and help alleviate "urban versus rural tension.”
Unfortunately, this joint resolution was requested to be amended by the committee so it won't be heard on the Senate floor any time soon. Senator Doug Okuniewicz brought this joint resolution to the floor so when you see him let him know your feelings on this resolution and ask him if he will be amending to get pushed through.
This is a modification from a bill that passed a few years ago, as we all should still remember how much Mary Souza was involved with this bill (shoot, she wouldn't let us forget how involved she was!), to prohibit private grant money coming into Idaho at the county elections level. Now, HB11 is closing a loophole about the private monies coming into the state for election. Although private monies could not fund a county clerk or local elections office for elections, HB11 is expanding that to include a prohibition of private monies for elections to any official or employee of the STATE as well.
Currently, HB11 is waiting to be heard in the House State Affairs Committee.
This legislation eliminates a source of fraud by removing student ID cards as a valid form of identification at the polls. Right now anyone who goes to a college/university gets a student ID card, no matter if their residence is in Idaho or out. So technically out of state residents can vote in Idaho elections just because they have a student ID card showing they go to a college/university in Idaho allowing for a wide range of election fraud to happen. Should be a no-brainer, right?
Legislation is currently waiting for a committee hearing in House State Affairs Committee.
This legislation modifies Idaho code that relates to School Bond and Levy election dates. The changes to Idaho code would consolidate elections for bonds and levies with the May primaries and November general election, removing the March and August interim elections. This change would result in a greater voter turnout, and reduced costs in the May and November elections.
This bill is currently waiting for a committee hearing in the House State Affairs Committee.
This legislation creates a new section of Idaho Code, 18-5415, related to reporting abuse, neglect or the abandonment of children under the Child Protective Act (CPS). Currently a person who reports allegations to CPS that they know to be false or reports allegations in bad faith or with malice is subject to civil liability to the parties against whom the report was made. This legislation adds a misdemeanor criminal penalty for these types of reports.
This legislation is currently sitting in the House Judiciary, Rules and Administration Committee.