House small 5-3-21

The Idaho House meets late into the evening on Monday, May 3, 2021, as the chief clerk reads a new 50-page bill across the desk, including a 10-page title that must be read in full, amending some 200 bills to allow lawmakers to recess, rather than adjourn, their legislative session this year without violating the Idaho Constitution.

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Idaho lawmakers passed a $382.9 million income tax cut and a billion-dollar transportation bonding plan Monday, sending both to the governor's desk, while also introducing a controversial new property tax bill packed with proposals from a 25% increase in the homeowner's exemption to new tax breaks for developers and large businesses.

The moves came amid a marathon of lawmaking in both the House and Senate that saw the House stay in session until after 8 p.m. and the Senate pass nearly 20 bills, including HB 380, the big, House-passed income tax cut bill, and HB 362, the transportation bonding bill.

Other long-awaited moves Monday included House passage of the higher education budget, on a 49-20 vote, sending the measure to the Senate; and House passage of several major pieces of the public schools budget, including the budget for the teachers division, which it had previously rejected but which passed unanimously on Monday.

House Majority Leader Mike Moyle, R-Star, who sponsored the new property tax bill, HB 389, said he's hoping lawmakers can wrap up their session on Tuesday and recess.

"I want to be finished," he said. "We can come back after a week and look at whatever the governor does."

However, Moyle said he wasn't sure if his new property tax proposal would pass the Senate — or even the House.

Moyle said the bill, which was both introduced and passed out of committee in a matter of just a few hours, is a conglomeration of a whole lot of other bills, from the Senate-killed SB 1108 to limit local government budget growth to Rep. Bruce Skaug's never-introduced homeowners exemption bill to several others, but it's got lots of other things in it, too.

You can read my full story here at idahopress.com (subscription required), or pick up Tuesday's print edition of the Idaho Press.

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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