Weekly Legislative Update (February 20-24)

idaho-capitol

This last week The Idaho State Senate had the honor of hosting a memorial service for previous State Senators. It took place on the Senate Floor. The Idaho State Senate honored Grant R. Ipsen, Claude J. Burtenshaw, Mark G. Ricks, Kenneth L. Robison, Robert W. Saxvik, John D. Hansen. Many heartfelt and humorous stories were shared about each individual.

House Bill 20 passed the Senate Floor with 30 Ayes and 2 nays, then returned to the House. The purpose of this legislation is to remove the additional registration fee for all gasoline hybrid vehicles while continuing to charge the fee for plug-in hybrids. This legislation exempts neighborhood electric vehicles from the electric vehicle fee.

In the Joint Finance Appropriations Committee the Department of Health and Welfare requested $128,600.00 for a continued FDA approved pilot program cannabid oil based medication to treat epilepsy. This medication does not carry any side effects of an altered state nor does it have any street value.

In the Joint Finance Appropriations Committee the Department of Agriculture requested $1,010,000.00 for the Quagga Muscles program. They have been found in the State of Montana. Department of Agriculture would like to open up three additional inspection stations to monitor traffic coming from Montana. The joint committee studying this issue would like six stations to have a 24- hour operation.

In Senate Transportation Senate Bill 1052, which would have removed dyed diesel fuel was held in committee. After a great deal of discussion Senate Bill 1072 (Dyed diesel fuel enforcement program) was sent to the Senate Floor. Dyed Diesel would be taxed at 24.4 cents per gallon at the federal level and 32 cents per gallon at the state level. This would be a total tax of 56.4 cents per gallon. Improper use of dyed diesel is considered an evasion of Idaho State tax laws and would be subject to a civil penalty.

In the State Affairs Committee Senate Bill 1106 was sent to print for further consideration. The purpose of this legislation is to raise the age in which tobacco products can be purchased from 18 to 21. The stated purpose of this legislation would be to lower the percentage of addiction and alleviate the health risks that result from such an addiction. There will most likely be a lively discussion from both sides of the issue.

The Senate Education Committee held a hearing to listen to concerns regarding (Rule 08.0203.1701) mandatory minimum requirements for the science curriculum, relating to climate change facts being taught. After many testimonies the Senate Education Committee decided it best to discuss it further and revisit the issue on Monday.

The Senate Education Committee heard from the National Conference of Sate Legislatures. They feel that the United States Education System is falling behind in comparison to many other countries education system. They are studying education in Finland, Canada, Hong Kong, Japan, Poland, China, Singapore, and Taiwan. They will be reporting back to update us on what they believe we could implement to improve education in the United States.

The Senate Health and Welfare committee held a hearing to hear various testimonies regarding Senate Bill 1050 (Immunization exemptions forms) The purpose of this legislation relates to an exemption form for parents or legal guardians to sign regarding certain immunizations before starting school. The law would clarify that a parent or guardian need only sign a statement of objection and present it to the school. Many were concerned a statement of objection and where that statement was sent to was an invasion of privacy. There was much discussion and a decision will be made this upcoming week.

Secretary of State Lawrence Denny thinks a federal agency may have tried to hack the state’s election website around November 8th. Apparently the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s IP address tried to access the state elections site. Department of Homeland Security does conduct cyber security scans however only after receiving consent of system owner. DHS has agreed to work with the Secretary of States Office and address his concerns.

Ada county Lincoln Day took place this last week. We were blessed with Andy Card as our Guest Speaker. He was Chief of Staff for Former President George W. Bush during September 11th attacks. He shared a detailed account of that day. He wrapped up his talk with stressing how every president carries a weight on their shoulders in which we cannot imagine and each and every one of them deserve our deep appreciation.

This last week the Idaho Capitol was visited by Idaho American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, and Idaho Counseling Association. Disability Awareness Day, 2017 Steps for Schools with Congressman Mike Simpson, and the Annual Idaho Watercolor Society Art show were celebrated.