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JFAC this morning voted to continue a stepped-up Idaho State Police presence at the state Capitol and the Idaho Supreme Court through the rest of the current fiscal year and through the following year as well, which runs through June 20, 2022. “It actually saddens me to bring this before us,…

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Anyone who's tried to follow the Idaho House in the past week has found it to be close to impossible, as the body zig-zags at high speeds around around its calendar, skipping various bills and taking up others. There's no way to know where it's is headed until Majority Leader Mike Moyle anno…

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The big House-passed transportation bonding bill, HB 362, has cleared the Senate Transportation Committee, but only after a motion to put it up for amendments instead failed on a 4-5 vote. Nearly all testimony at the hearing was in favor of the bill, with several backers specifically noting …

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The Idaho Senate today voted 18-17 in favor of SB 1193, the new version of a bill to accept a $6 million grant approved by the Trump Administration to help local collaboratives improve early learning in their communities in kids up to age 5. An earlier version of the proposal narrowly died i…

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At a time when House-Senate negotiations are getting hot and heavy, the odd incident on Friday morning in which House Majority Leader Mike Moyle was trapped in the Senate elevator for more than half an hour seems somehow emblematic. He’d grabbed the Senate elevator – one of two public elevat…

Backers of major legislation to fund full-day kindergarten as an option for every Idaho school district have reluctantly given up for this year, but say they’ll press for the change next year, I wrote in my Sunday column. “It’s lost its momentum, is the best way to describe it at this point,…

The Idaho House voted unanimously last week to repeal a portion of state law that grants exceptions to the criminal definition of rape when someone is married to the alleged perpetrator. SB 1089 will now head to Gov. Brad Little’s desk to be signed into law. The long-standing inconsistency i…

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Lawmakers amended a bill that would ban the state, public health departments and even school districts from requiring masks to add a penalty on Friday, the AP reports. The amendment in the Idaho House means the legislation now says that if a political subdivision enacts a mask mandate, any public health order or emergency declaration that the entity is operating under will be terminated...

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After a lengthy and passionate debate, the Senate has voted 25-10 in favor of HB 135aa, the Senate-amended, House-passed emergency powers bill. Because the bill originated in the House but was amended in the Senate, it still needs to return to the House for concurrence in the Senate amendmen…

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In a contentious General Orders session in the House that just concluded, two bills were altered from their original thrust: SB 1061, regarding election deadlines, which earlier passed the Senate unanimously, was amended into a new version of the bill to eliminate the August school levy elec…

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Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin said Thursday that she will assemble a task force to examine indoctrination in Idaho schools — including critical race theory, socialism, communism, and Marxism, writes Idaho Education News reporter Blake Jones. “We must find where these insidious theories and philo…

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The Legislature’s Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee held nearly two hours of hearings this morning on specific spending requests from three state agencies for federal coronavirus aid arriving in the state from the American Rescue Plan Act, or ARPA, hearings that continued from the day b…

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Former Idaho Supreme Court Justice Jim Jones on Thursday delivered a petition with more than 16,000 signatures to Gov. Brad Little's office, urging him to veto SB 1110, a bill approved by both the Idaho House and Senate that would make it more difficult to qualify voter initiatives for the I…

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On what proved to be a long day for the Senate but a short one for the House, Idaho lawmakers on Thursday advanced major legislation on transportation funding and tax cuts, passed an array of bills on everything from dam-breaching to “strong beer,” and failed to override the governor’s first…

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The Senate Local Government & Taxation Committee has sent HB 332, the $389.4 million House-passed income tax cut and rebate bill, to the Senate’s 14th Order for amendments. Senators mentioned several possible amendments they have in mind. In addition, the bill’s House sponsor, Rep. Steve…

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Ammon Bundy of Emmett has now been charged with two more offenses today: Trespassing, a misdemeanor; and resisting or obstructing officers, also a misdemeanor, according to Ada County Jail records. Each carries a fixed bond amount of $300, as did the misdemeanor trespassing charge on which B…

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An "uncooperative" Ammon Bundy, shouting loudly, was just wheeled out of the state Capitol building and taken to the Ada County jail for the second time today, and his fifth arrest this year. According to the Idaho State Police, Bundy, who was issued a notice Aug. 26 barring him from the Cap…

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A panel of Idaho lawmakers advanced two bills targeting abortion Wednesday, writes AP reporter Rebecca Boone. The first bill attempts to dissuade women from having abortions if the fetus is diagnosed with Down syndrome. The other bill would eliminate government funding from health care providers...

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The House has voted 59-11 in favor of HB 362, the latest version of the transportation bonding bill, sending the measure to the Senate. It would shift 4.5% of Idaho’s state sales tax proceeds each year, up from 1% now, from the state general fund to roads, with $80 million of that amount goi…

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The Senate has just failed to override Gov. Brad Little’s veto of HB 214, the bill on the powers of the tax commission chairman on which the House yesterday voted overwhelmingly to override the veto. The Senate, with no debate, held a roll-call vote on whether to override; it came out 21-14.…

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Idaho Gov. Brad Little issued an executive order Wednesday banning state government from requiring or issuing so-called COVID-19 “vaccine passports,” the AP reports. The Republican governor in his order also prohibited state agencies from providing information on an people's vaccine status to other people, companies or government entities...

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The House was scheduled to convene at 9:30 today, but Speaker Scott Bedke just announced there’s a delay due to technical difficulties. “Give us 15 minutes and then we’ll see what that brings,” he said. Meanwhile, the Senate is scheduled to convene at 10, but GOP senators also were planning …

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After it had passed the controversial initiatives bill and killed the higher ed budget, the House took up a slew of other bills, passing them all; some required suspending rules to take them up early. Among them: The first two pieces of the public schools budget, both of which passed unanimo…

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This morning, JFAC approved a “trailer bill” to fund a start-up program at the state Department of Agriculture for legal industrial hemp production, and this afternoon, the Idaho Senate gave final passage to HB 126, the industrial hemp legalization bill, sending the House-passed measure to t…

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HB 316, the House-passed bill to dial back the state’s indigent care and catastrophic health care program and change the funding of Idaho public health districts, ran into big trouble during a Senate committee hearing this afternoon, and is headed for the Senate’s 14th Order for amendments. …

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SB 1179, the proposed budget for Idaho's four-year colleges and universities for next year, has been defeated on a 13-57 vote, after a wild debate that the bill's sponsor opened by urging House members to vote "no" on the bill. "Folks, this budget was drafted approximately six weeks ago," sa…

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After much debate this afternoon, the Idaho House has voted 51-18 in favor of SB 1110, the bill to restrict future ballot initiatives by requiring signatures from 6% of voters in all 35 of Idaho's legislative districts to qualify for the bill. The bill earlier passed the Senate; it now heads…

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The House was just getting into its debate on SB 1110, the bill to require signatures of 6% of registered voters in all 35 of Idaho’s legislative districts in order to qualify any initiative for the Idaho ballot, when Majority Leader Mike Moyle stood and asked for a recess until 2:30. The mo…