The Session Begins
On Monday, the First Regular Session of the Sixty-sixth Idaho Legislature convened. The House of Representatives watched Governor Brad Little’s State of the State Address from their seats in the chamber. There were multiple technical glitches during the Address, which only further proved the need for this in-person, rather than virtual, Legislative Session.
Laying Out Our Priorities
Shortly after the State of the State Address finished up, Speaker of the House Scott Bedke laid out the priorities of the House Republican Caucus in a news conference that offered in-person or virtual attendance. We’re working on an array of legislation for you, focusing on these five priorities:
- Balance of Power Realignment
- Property Tax Relief & Transparency
- Unanticipated Surplus Distribution
- Transportation & Infrastructure Improvements
- Education Investments Review
Rebalancing Government Powers
Throughout the week, our members introduced a variety of bills aimed at restoring balance to the Executive and Legislative Branches. Tuesday, Assistant Majority Leader Rep. Jason Monks introduced House Bill 1, which ensures that all Idahoans have the right to work, provide for their families and contribute to the economy during any emergency disaster declaration.
“Right now we are blocked from being involved in any emergency declaration and this makes us part of that process,” Rep. Monks said.
The legislation also limits the length of emergency disaster declarations to a maximum of 30 days unless extended by a legislative concurrent resolution. All constitutional rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Constitution of the State of Idaho, and explicitly the right to assemble for worship, are definitively protected in this legislation. The legislation clarifies that the governor may not alter, adjust or suspend Idaho Code during a disaster declaration. And finally, this legislation terminates all currently existing emergency disaster declarations that have existed longer than 30 days.
Increasing Access For Everyone
There have been extensive infrastructure improvements in the Statehouse and there are extra precautions being taken for this Legislative Session. Closing off the Statehouse from the very citizens whom we serve was never an option. On the contrary, the new safety options of social distancing, Plexiglas shields, air purifiers, hand sanitizer stations, and virtual testimony are only increasing access to the Legislative process for all Idahoans.
“We are making sure that our elected leaders, staff, and public can not only take part in the legislative process as outlined in the Idaho Constitution, but that they are safe while doing it,” said Speaker of the House Scott Bedke.
You can learn more about all the legislation being debated by our Caucus members. Just check the House Reading Calendar found at the link below.