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Sine Die
The Second Regular Session of the Sixty-fifth Idaho Legislature adjourned sine die on March 20th. Your House Republican Caucus accomplished a lot; passing a conservative balanced budget, increasing education funding, protecting vital statistics, cutting environmental red tape, protecting the 2nd amendment, and more. At every step, it was our honor to represent you, and work to make the greatest state in the Union an even better place to live. Esto Perpetua.
Taking Necessary Precautions
In light of concern surrounding confirmed Coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in Idaho, Republican House leadership took proactive steps to assure that members of the Legislature and staff members were kept safe. Those precautionary measures were based on facts and expert guidance from state and local health officials and included things like washing hands, staying out of crowded rooms and limiting social contact. The experts never recommended that the Legislature discontinue its work. We provided all House attaches and non-essential staff members the option to work from home or to end employment a few days early. Our leadership also adjusted workloads to expedite finishing the people’s business and balancing the state’s budget as constitutionally required before returning home.
Preserving Life
Your caucus members are preserving life. Senate Bill 1385, co-sponsored by Majority Caucus Chair Representative Megan Blanksma, makes the performance of an abortion a crime. It becomes effective when the United States Supreme Court restores to the states their authority to prohibit abortion, or the United States Constitution is amended to restore to the states their authority to prohibit abortion. It also provides affirmative defenses in the cases where the life of the mother is an issue and cases of rape and incest. The bill passed the House of Representatives on Wednesday and is headed to the Governor for approval.
Easing Traffic Congestion
After a long road, a bill to ease traffic congestion and repair bridges is on the Governor’s desk for approval. Thursday, the House of Representatives passed Representative Joe Palmer’s House Bill 325a. The bill does not raise taxes but does increase the amount of state sales tax that goes to transportation. 60% would go to the Transportation Expansion and Congestion Mitigation Fund, while 40% would go to repairing or replacing bridges.
Ensuring Initiative Transparency
Caucus members are working to ensure a transparent voter initiative process. Senate Bill 1350a, co-sponsored by Representative Wendy Horman, would make more information available to voters about statewide citizen initiatives. It proposes to add a fiscal impact statement to all statewide ballot initiatives, including a proposed, non-binding funding source. The statement would be prepared by the Division of Financial Management, an executive branch agency. The House of Representatives passed the legislation on Monday, and the Senate concurred with our amendments, so now it is waiting for the Governor’s signature.
Protecting Women’s Sports
House Bill 500a, the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act, passed the House and Senate and is now waiting for the Governor’s approval. The legislation from Representative Barbara Ehardt would prohibit biological boys and men from competing on girls or women’s teams. This would ensure that opportunities continue for girls and women competing in athletics.
Getting Tech Funding to Schools
Caucus members are working to get technology funding to Idaho schools. That technology is changing the way education is delivered in our classrooms, but most Idaho school districts receive less than $5,000, which just isn’t enough. That’s why House Bill 576, co-sponsored by Representatives Jerald Raymond and Ron Mendive, creates a source of funding for schools to purchase high-quality digital curriculum. The schools can use that to meet measurable targets. The bill passed the Senate and is now waiting for the Governor’s signature.