At Idaho’s State of the State address in January, Gov. Brad Little outlined his top priorities for the 2023 legislative session, which included investing in education and tax relief.
At the address, Little said his goal is to “double down on our support of schools and tax relief and continue key investments to keep up with growth and make our communities safe.”
The Idaho Legislature is part-time, meaning the session does not typically continue throughout the year. Idaho’s Legislature has historically adjourned toward the end of March or beginning of April.
This year, the goal is for the Legislature to adjourn by March 24, meaning that the legislature is well over halfway through this session with only a few weeks left.
So far, 11 pieces of legislation have made their way through the house and senate before being signed into law by Gov. Little.
This includes three bills relating to the Idaho Division of Human Resources, three bills pertaining to commercial and personal driver’s licenses, a bill to require post-election audits, a bill to change the definition of “internal revenue code,” a bill to extend worker’s compensation and a bill to revise the definition of “overtime” for state employees.
The only other bill that has become law this session is S.B. 1029, which prohibits a child protection investigation and prevents the court from terminating a child-parent relationship based on a child’s immunization status. Little has an additional six bills waiting to be signed.
In order for Little to fulfill his earlier promises, we will have to see a significant number of bills signed into law in the next few weeks. At an Idaho Press Club event on Feb. 24, Little said that most of his plans will be “wrapped up in the very last appropriations process.”
Little allocated $120 million of his proposed budget to lowering property taxes and three bills have been introduced so far, but all have been waiting on a hearing for weeks.
Another major piece of legislation Little is waiting on is H.B. 24, titled the Idaho Launch Grant Program. If enacted this bill would provide Idaho high school graduates with $8,500 to use towards college or workforce training. H.B. 24 narrowly passed the house last month and is waiting on a vote in the senate.
Despite the legislature having only a few more weeks planned, it is possible that they won’t adjourn at the scheduled time, as we saw in 2021 when the session went all the way into November, marking the longest legislative session in Idaho history.
Additionally, Idahoans voted to pass the constitutional amendment SJR 101 last November which gave our legislature the power to call itself back into session, so there could be an increase in special sessions called after the legislature adjourns this year.