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Cutting Environmental Red Tape

Speaker of the House Scott Bedke and Governor Brad Little talked to White House officials on Thursday. They shared Idaho’s experience with the National Environmental Policy Act, and showed staunch support for President Donald Trump’s plan to modernize this law. NEPA regulations have slowed and impeded the development of needed infrastructure in communities across the nation, including right here in Idaho. In fact, Environmental Impact Statements for Federal highway projects have averaged more than seven years to complete, with some reviews taking a decade or more. Overhauling NEPA will give us more timely road projects, lower fire risk, and more jobs.

A Surprise Honor

Representative James Holtzclaw was surprised with the ‘Professional Fire Fighters of Idaho Legislator of the Year Award’ on Monday. Rep. Holtzclaw has worked to improve the mental health of first responders and help them cope with their post-traumatic stress.

“The people who take care of us, we should take care of them,” said Rep. Holtzclaw.

At the start of the ceremony, the crowd was also treated to an incredible performance by the Boise Firefighters Pipes and Drums.

Members on the Radio

Two more members of the Caucus are on the radio this week. Assistant Majority Leader Jason Monks will be on KLIX with Bill Colley on Wednesday morning. Representative Fred Wood will be on KBOI with Mike Casper and Chris Walton on Friday morning. Tune in!

Member Legislation

Closing a Loophole on Poachers

Representative Fred Wood’s House Bill 528 would close a loophole that allowed a moose poacher to walk free. The current wording of the law limits felony prosecution to instances where someone has more than one poached animal. This legislation would clarify that a single poaching event, where the value exceeds $1,000, to be punishable by a felony. The bill is headed to the floor of the House of Representatives for consideration.

Improving Initiative Transparency

The House State Affairs Committee approved House Bill 548 this week. The legislation from Representative Jim Addis would require each initiative to embrace a single subject, clarifies effective dates, requires that each initiative petition signer is made aware of Idaho Code pertaining to petition signature removal, and requires those who pay signature gatherers to report their activity to the Secretary of State.

“These are changes that improve clarity, transparency, and integrity in the initiative process,” said Rep. Addis.

The bill now heads to the House floor.

Attracting Tech Infrastructure

Legislation from Representative Greg Chaney aims to encourage the construction and location of large-scale data centers in Idaho. House Bill 521 would allow a sales and use tax exemption to data centers that commit to a capital expenditure of no less than $250 million within five years of starting construction and will create no less than 30 jobs within two years of starting operations. Attracting data centers is an extremely competitive landscape, and this would keep Idaho in the game. The bill is headed to the House after passing out of committee this week.

Vital Statistics Clarification

House Bill 509, by Rep. Julianne Young, updates the Idaho Vital Statistics Act and directs that certificates of birth accurately document material facts related to the birth of a child, including time of birth, date of birth, biological sex, birth weight, birth length, and place of birth.

The legislation comes after a federal judge ruled in 2018 that Idaho had to begin accepting applications to change sex identifiers on birth certificates, effectively negating the biological and scientifically based legal definition of birth sex.

“Our sex at birth is programmed into every cell of our bodies. It affects our lab and test results, disease susceptibility, medicinal doses and a plethora of other sex-specific characterizes regardless of hormone regimes and surgery,” said Rep. Julianne Young, District 31. “Safeguarding the accuracy of our vital records is a vital part of protecting the public health and safety.

Keep Updated

You can learn more about new legislation as it’s being introduced by our Caucus members by following any of the House committee agendas that can be found at the link below.