Senate dome

Domed ceiling over the Idaho Senate chamber

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Senate Assistant Majority Leader Steve Vick, R-Dalton Gardens, asked the Senate to send his bill, SB 1416 on raising the homeowners exemption, back to committee, and the Senate agreed by unanimous consent. “I’m a firm believer that our constituents need some property tax relief,” Vick told the Senate. “This was one way that I had hoped to be able to provide some property tax relief to homeowners. But as we have all learned over the last few weeks, these are very uncertain times. This is truly uncharted territory. As I’ve told many of you, it’s like living in a movie. … I walked home last night from the Capitol, and it was late, it was like 10 o’clock, I’ll grant you that, but it was the closest I’ve ever seen Boise to being a ghost town. We don’t know what the impact of the virus is going to be, and I’m sure we all pray it’s much less than I anticipate. But through all that, I decided that it’s a poor time to change tax policy, because we don’t know if this is going to hit homeowners hardest or businesses hardest, or who it’s going to impact and who it’s going to hit, so for those reasons I’d like to send the bill back to committee.”

Then, the Senate passed HB 496, granting a sales tax exemption for certain custom meat processing services, 31-0. It disposed of the other two bills left on its 3rd Reading Calendar, HB 617 on administrative rules and SB 1387a, Sen. Fred Martin's bill on birth certificate gender marker changes, by sending them to the Senate's 14th Order for possible amendment.

Betsy Z. Russell is the Boise bureau chief and state capitol reporter for the Idaho Press and Adams Publishing Group. Follow her on Twitter at @BetsyZRussell.

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