March 24, 2017
Writer: Yanni Klapsakis
Idaho Lawmakers Near Adjournment, but Final Action on Roads, Tax Cuts Remains
Wednesday, the Senate approved an amended tax bill that would repeal state sales tax on groceries. The bill will go back for a hearing in the House Tax Committee. However, it is uncertain whether Gov. Butch Otter will overcome his objection to the bill and eventually sign it.
During the same day, the Senate rejected the bill that would have appropriated $300 million for road construction and maintenance but a similar, scaled-down bill, with the same funding scheme, is still pending before the Senate.
Bill that Repeals Sales Tax on Groceries Passes Idaho Senate
The legislation that repeals the state's taxation on groceries was approved Wednesday in the Idaho Senate with a 25-10 vote. However, Gov. Butch Otter and other legislative leaders oppose it.
Faith Healing Bill Dies in Idaho Senate
The bill proposal that would allow Idaho's judges to get involved easier in faith-healing cases, yet didn't change the state's religious exemption regarding criminal charges, was killed Tuesday on a 24-11 vote.
According to Idaho state law, families can claim religious reasons for medical decisions regarding their children's well-being without fear of being charged with neglect or abuse.
Medicaid Gap Bill Dies in Idaho Senate
Monday, the Idaho Senate killed a bill by a 13-22 vote that would have funded a $10 million plan that would have provided health services to the estimated 15,000 chronically ill Idahoans who don't qualify for Medicaid because they earn too much and make too little in order to qualify for health insurance premium subsidies under the Affordable Care Act.
Idaho Senate Approves $126 Million Resolution to Purchase Office Space
Gov. Butch Otter, earlier this month, requested an approval from the House and Senate to enable the purchase finalization by the Department of Administration for the office space on the former Hewlett-Packard campus in Boise. The plan is that the buildings will house the Idaho State Tax Commission and other state agencies.
Public Schools Budget Proposal Heads to Governor's Desk
The budget that boosts public school funding by 6.3 percent passed unanimously in the Senate on Wednesday and now is up to Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter to approve or veto the budget.
Idaho House Committee Spikes Victims' Rights Amendment
After more than five hours of testimony within only a few days, the Idaho House State Affairs Committee, with a 10-5 vote, spiked the proposed amendment to the state's constitution regarding the expansion of rights of crime victims and their families.
According to the proposal, crime victims would have been required to be notified of all court proceedings and be heard during the whole process. In addition, it would have declared that full and timely restitution is a right.
The session was expected to end this week, but it looks like lawmakers will be back Monday to finish their work.