2017 Legislature

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State Representative Janet Trujillo of Idaho Falls is married to House Majority leader Mike Moyle of Star. Hailing from the eastern part of the state, Trujillo is facing scrutiny for collecting thousands of dollars meant to offset the cost of maintaining a residence in Boise –  despite the fact her husband's home is less than 20 miles from the Statehouse.

Otto Kitsinger / AP Images

The state legislature wrapped up Wednesday afternoon, less than a week after leadership had hoped to adjourn.

The minority party went into this legislative session on its heels after losing four seats in the November election. Out of 105 House and Senate members, only 17 were Democrats.

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Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho employers will pay millions of dollars more than necessary in unemployment insurance taxes after a bill that was supposed to lower those costs failed on the final day of the 2017 session.

Officials from the Idaho Department of Labor and Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter's office had pushed lawmakers to reduce a key component in how Idaho calculates the unemployment insurance tax rate because the fund Idaho uses to pay unemployment benefits has more money in it than needed.

This would have saved employers an estimated $115 million over the next three years.

Charlie Litchfield / AP

The Idaho Legislature closed up shop and went home Wednesday. The session went five days longer than leadership had anticipated.

The session was notable for a few bills, including transportation funding and tax cuts, which were sticking points at the end of the session. Lawmakers also didn’t find a solution for the 78,000 Idahoans who fall in the Medicaid gap and don’t have health insurance.

AP

A massive transportation funding bill is making its way through the Idaho Statehouse as lawmakers hope to finish their work before the end of the day.

Senate members spent nearly two hours Tuesday debating a roughly $320 million proposal to funnel more money to roads and bridges. A similar proposal had failed in the Senate chamber just last week on a 15-20 vote. This forced transportation and infrastructure advocates scrambling to rewrite a new plan before adjournment, which in the end wooed enough lawmakers to vote 19-16.

Otto Kitsinger / Associated Press

As we wrap up the 11th week of the 2017 Idaho Legislative Session, lawmakers have been struggling to finish up their work and go home. For several weeks, the goal has been to end the session Friday. House Speaker Scott Bedke said on Thursday lawmakers will have to come back on Monday.

This week lawmakers struggled with a large transportation funding bill. They tried and failed to pass a bill that would have helped some of the 78,000 people in Idaho who can’t afford health insurance. And tax cuts are still a sticking point.

Ada County Statehouse Capitol Building Attorney General Office Wasden
Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho House lawmakers used Attorney General Lawrence Wasden's budget plan for fiscal year 2018 to highlight their displeasure with the chief legal officer's recent agreement to repeal two anti-abortion laws.

House members voted 40-30 on the attorney general's budget Monday, a narrow vote in a Legislature that typically displays overwhelming support for funding proposals once they are set by budget writers.

Kevin Rank / Flickr

Bills were flying fast and furious in and out of the Idaho House and Senate this week, as lawmakers try to meet next Friday’s deadline to wrap up the session and go home.

As week ten of the legislature comes to a close, lawmakers still haven’t solved the Medicaid Gap in Idaho. Those are the people who can’t afford health care but make too much to qualify for Medicaid. Transportation funding and a tax cut are also still in the mix.

Boise State University political science professor Gary Moncrief says there are still around 100 bills to be considered in the House and Senate.

Gothia Towers / Flickr Creative Commons

A bill shielding yoga training from state regulations is headed to the governor's desk for approval.

The Idaho Senate on Monday cleared a measure to exempt certain yoga instruction programs from being regulated just like for-profit vocational schools, which oversee students enrolled in programs such as truck driving or welding.

Idaho Ed News

Frustrations boiled over this week in the Idaho House, as conservative lawmakers tried to make a stand against their fellow Republicans in the Legislature.

The House came to a standstill not once, but twice this week, as a small group, which includes some north Idaho Republicans, used procedural moves in favor of one bill and against another. Both times, their attempts failed and revealed the cracks in the GOP between the very conservative members and the more mainstream Republican leadership.

Ada County Statehouse Capitol Building House Chambers Entrance
Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho lawmakers advanced a bill that would reverse two anti-abortion laws if passed.

Earlier this year, a federal judge told Idaho lawmakers that he would strike down two anti-abortion laws if they don’t reverse those measures at the state level. In 2015, Idaho passed two laws that banned women from being prescribed abortion-inducing medicine through telemedicine.

Ada County Statehouse Capitol Building House Chambers
Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

Bills have been speeding their way through the Idaho Legislature during week eight of the session.

The budget committee passed a bill to increase the public schools budget. Fish and Game brought a new hunting fees bill to lawmakers. And more of the action is moving out of committees and onto the House and Senate Floors.

Vito Barbieri
Matt Cilley / AP Images

Idaho state Rep. Vito Barbieri, R-Dalton Gardens, introduced a bill Wednesday that would exempt public officials from fulfilling certain public records requests. He brought up the proposal in the House State Affairs Committee.

John McCrostie for District 16 / Facebook

An Idaho Democratic lawmaker sparked objections from Republican members Monday for using an anti-motorcycling profiling bill to promote amending the state's Human's Rights Act.

Rep. John McCrostie of Boise praised the proposal for not allowing discrimination based on a certain lifestyle, adding that no one should be profiled if they are gay or a biker. McCrostie's argument caused vocal protest from lawmakers who felt he violated House floor rules.

This caused House Speaker Scott Bedke to warn Democrats to keep their debate focused on the proposed legislation.

Tom Britt / Flickr Creative Commons

Zebra mussels are knocking at Idaho’s door.

Montana, Utah and Nevada all have the invasive species, which attach to boats and can spread easily from different bodies of water. They can kill native lake species and cost millions of dollars in damage and mitigation. They first appeared in the Great Lakes after Eastern European boats introduced them in the 1980s.

 

AP

As we wrap up week seven of the 2017 Idaho Legislature, lawmakers have passed 37 bills into new laws. That number will increase dramatically in the next four weeks.

One hot button issue this week was a bill that could have had some effect on the types of gaming that Native American tribes in Idaho could offer in their casinos.

In our 2017 Weekly Legislative Update, Boise State University professor Gary Moncrief says the House State Affairs Committee spent a lot of time on this bill. He say that was a little unusual for lawmakers.

Carolyn Kaster / AP

U.S. Representative Raul Labrador spoke to the Idaho House Wednesday about President Donald Trump.

The First District Republican gave a fifteen minute speech to members of Idaho’s House of Representatives. Labrador said he was concerned at the reaction to President Trump’s actions. Labrador said people are acting like Trump’s actions are unusual or illegitimate, when he’s just doing the things he said he would while campaigning.

AP

Law enforcement agencies would have to follow new statewide standards on how long physical evidence in sexual assault investigations should be retained under new legislation headed to the House floor.

Ada County Statehouse Capitol Building Joint Finance Appropriations Committee
Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

Friday we wrap up week six of the Idaho Legislature. Lawmakers are getting down to the business of passing bills in committees and sending them to the House and Senate floor.

The Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee, or JFAC considered the final budget requests from the state agencies this week. That means this panel of 20 is switching gears and will start to draft bills, in fact, the committee is expected to write close to 100 budget bills.

Adam Theo / Flickr Creative Commons

Idaho lawmakers are considering joining fellow Republican-dominated states calling for a constitutional amendment to limit federal government power.

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