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Well, the House went for about an hour on the floor, nearly all of it devoted to the full reading of a single bill, HB 79 on annuities. There was no debate, other than the opening debate from the bill’s House sponsor, Rep. Rod Furniss, R-Rigby. He said, “That was fun,” then told the House he knew the regulations in the lengthy bill “sound heavy-handed,” and said, “These instruments, if they were regulated under the FCC, they would have a lot more regulations.”

“I know this bill is not the Idaho way, I know that we have freedom and we want those agents to do what they want to do,” Furniss told the House. “But here’s the problem: If we don’t pass a bill like this, the federal government comes in.”

The bill’s Statement of Purpose said it was enacting recent model regulation regarding annuities into statute, and that many of the provisions already were contained in existing administrative rules, but should more appropriately be in statute. It was proposed by state Department of Insurance Director Dean Cameron.

“Trust me, as an agent that sells annuities, I would rather live under this bill than the federal government,” Furniss told the House. “I would ask for your green light. This is a good bill, it comes from the Department of Insurance. I wish that I could explain it better. ... But this bill is what the agents want, it’s what the companies want, it’s what we need.”

The bill then passed by just one vote, 34-33, and the House adjourned until 10:30 tomorrow morning. House Judiciary Chairman Greg Chaney, R-Caldwell, announced that his panel would resume its meeting in 10 minutes.

The Judiciary Committee then resumed hearing HB 195, hearing vehement testimony from roughly 10 opponents of the bill who said they believed it would violate constitutional rights to free speech and assembly, as well as from one more in favor.

One woman told the committee that protests at people’s homes are “nothing more than an annoyance,” and warned, “Those who make peaceful protest impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.”

A young girl testified remotely in favor of the bill, saying when she heard about picketing at Diana Lachiondo’s home, she was angry, “because if I had my house picketed I would be scared, angry and most of all upset that someone would do this.”

Another testifer said, “I just have a rhetorical question. Why are we considering an unconstitutional bill? Thank you.”

Another testifier named Mario told the committee, “The power of policing lies with the citizen. We didn’t give it to the state. So if there’s a crime ... we can go to the perceived perpetrator’s house.”

The last person called to testify was Rosa Martinez. She objected that a minor was allowed to testify, but Vice Chair Linda Hartgen, R-Twin Falls, who was presiding because the committee chairman, Greg Chaney, was presenting the bill in question, said that’s allowed and has happened before. Martinez then tried to give her time away to someone else, but Hartgen said that wasn’t permitted. “If you do not want to testify, this meeting is adjourned,” she said, banging the gavel, and the meeting ended.

So that marks the end of the 38th legislative day of this year’s Idaho legislative session…

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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