Weekly Legislative Update (March 23-27)

idaho-capitol

CAREER LADDER – THE TEACHER-PAY BILL

The Senate voted 34 to 0 to approve HB 296 requiring significant increases in teacher pay over the next five years.  Sponsored by Senator Mortimer, this bill establishes a funding model for teacher pay based on a new compensation system for both residency and professional development compensation.  Many Senators voiced support for this legislation in that it provides an accountability system for raises, providing that teachers meet performance requirements.  In addition, teachers would be eligible for payments for additional educational degrees.  Although there has been much debate on whether the state can afford this legislation, many agreed that invest­ing in Idaho’s education professionals benefits Idaho’s economy and students in the long-run.

PARENTAL RIGHTS

The Senate voted 27 to 7 to approve HB 113 to add to existing law to affirm the rights of parents.  Sponsored by Senator Nuxoll, this legislation reaffirms the fundamental rights of parents for the care, custody, education, and control of their children.   This right aligns with the unalienable rights of freedom of religion, speech, and the right to assemble in our Constitution.  Although the state of Idaho has had no court cases in which this right has been downgraded, there was a 2000 Supreme Court Case in which this fundamental right was not acknowledged and several appellate court cases and other state cases where the fundamental right has been downgraded to an ordinary right.  H 113 would ensure that our Idaho courts are aware that the legislature has codified this basic fundamental right of parents.

WEB CAM ABORTIONS

The Senate voted 27 to 7 to approve HB154 to amend existing law to require a physician to conduct an in-person examination and counseling of a pregnant woman prior to prescribing abortion-inducing drugs.   Webcam abortion involves using the RU486 abortion drug which is administered via a video conferencing system with an abortion provider in another satellite location.   Complications arise from inaccurate dating of the gestational age of the baby, inability to diagnose an ectopic pregnancy, and hemorrhaging and infection.   Of reported cases, there have been at least 14 deaths and more than 600 women have been hospitalized.   Studies show that complications are four times higher for chemical abortions than surgical abortions.

CANNABIDIOL (CBD) OIL

The Senate voted 22 to 12 to approve SB 1146 providing a way for the use of cannabidiol (CBD) oil, which some believe reduce the number and duration of seizures in children and adults living with certain forms of epilepsy.  Sponsored by Senator McKenzie, this bill, known as Alexis’ Law, provides a limited affirmative defense for the possession of or use of cannabidiol (CBD) oil, also known as marijuana oil.  Proponents of this legislation believe the oil is a successful method in reducing the number and duration of seizures in children and adults living with epilepsy.  Opponents of this legislation voiced concerns about the lack of scientific evidence, negative impacts on law enforcement, and where the illegal plant would be grown and sourced.

NATUROPATHIC PHYSICIANS LICENSING

The Senate Health & Welfare Committee voted 5 to 4 to send HB 181 to the Senate Floor to the amending order.  Sponsored by Senator Hagedorn, this legislation provides a framework for those naturopathic or chiropractic physicians who have graduated from an accredited Naturopathic Medical School and passed a national exam to become licensed.  This legislation also establishes a board consisting of a medical doctor, a pharmacist, and naturopathic physicians.  This board allows for naturopathic physicians to practice to the scope of their training, while not infringing on others that are providing natural health care services.

Proponents of the bill, including the Idaho Chapter of the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians (ICAANP), argue that this legislation adds legitimacy to the naturopathic profession by providing a license.  In turn, this bill would allow Naturopaths to prescribe medication and perform minor operations.  The final amendment to the bill now recognizes those practicing under the Supreme Court “State vs. Smith” decision.  This allows those providing different services than that of physicians to continue to be called doctors, not impacting their current practices.

GUBERNATORIAL APPOINTMENT SPONSORSHIPS THIS WEEK

  • Senator Ward-Engelking sponsored Celia Gould to the Public Employee Retirement System of Idaho Board.