Initiative bill passes; Health insurance exchange; Transfer of federal lands; Personal property taxes; Agritourism bill approved; Scrap metal theft measure; Trucking legislation.
Initiative bill passes
Idaho Farm Bureau’s bill that requires broader geographic support in the state for an initiative or referendum to qualify for the election ballot has been sent to the governor’s desk after passing the House.
The measure, Senate Bill 1108, was debated on the House floor on March 22 and passed on a 45-21 vote. All but one of the House’s 13 Democrats voted no. They were joined by nine Republicans.
The Senate approved the bill 25-10.
Health insurance exchange; Initiative bill moves to House; Heavier truck routes; Personal property taxes.
The Idaho House, after debating for about seven hours, voted 41-29 this week to support Governor Otter’s call for a state-based health insurance exchange, a key component of the Affordable Care Act. The state exchange legislation, House Bill 248, was supported by all of the Democrats in the House and 28 of the chamber’s 57 Republican members.
Freshman House members were instrumental in the bill’s passage. Earlier this session, 16 new House members vowed to support the state exchange if provisions they proposed were added to the legislation. Those provisions and some additional changes were incorporated into H248. All but two of those 16 freshman representatives voted for the bill.
Support for initiative bill; Exchange bill advances; Protection for agritourism; State revenues climb; Land-use planning changes
In a solid show of support, the Senate State Affairs Committee has recommended passage of Idaho Farm Bureau Federation’s bill that would give more voters in the state an opportunity to decide if an issue should be placed on the election ballot through an initiative or referendum.
The committee voted 7-2 this week to send Senate Bill 1108 to the full Senate with a “do-pass” recommendation.
Initiative bill hearing; Rangeland Center funding; Extension for water permits; Limit on forest fire damages.
A Senate State Affairs Commit-tee hearing on the Idaho Farm Bureau’s bill that would require broader geographic support in the state to qualify an initiative or referendum for the election ballot was extended into this week.
Russ Hendricks, on behalf of the Farm Bureau, presented Senate Bill 1108 before the Senate committee last Friday. Time ran out, and the hearing had to be continued to this week. Mr. Hendricks emphasized that the bill will allow more voters in the state, not just those in heavily populated areas, to consider initiative or referendum petitions.
New initiative reform bill; Health insurance exchange; Agricultural research budget; Damages for forest fires; accident response fees; Water permit extension
A new bill advocated by Idaho Farm Bureau to require broader support in the state to qualify an issue for the election ballot has been introduced in the state Senate.
Senate Bill 1108, which was introduced by the Senate State Affairs Committee, replaces Senate Bill 1026.
Under the new bill, proponents of initiatives and referendums must collect signatures from 6 percent of registered voters in each of at least 18 of the state’s 35 legislative districts, provided that the total number of signatures equals at least 6 percent of voters in the entire state. The prior bill set the minimum at 22 legislative districts.
Irrigation water on roads; Health insurance exchange; Accident response fees; 129,000-pound trucks
Two bills addressing irrigation water on the road were introduced this week by the House Transportation and Defense Committee at the request of the Idaho Association of Highway Districts.
House Bill 172 classifies flood or sprinkler irrigation water as an encroachment and public nuisance. The bill allows the county or highway district to remove the encroachment without notice and charge the party owning or controlling the encroachment or the land upon which the encroachment originated.
Eminent domain measure, Health insurance exchange, Agritourism promotion act, Extension for beneficial use, National immigration reform, Farm Bureau conference.
Eminent domain measure In a 5-4 vote this week, the Senate Local Government and Taxation Committee rejected Senate Bill 1046, which bans the use of eminent domain to forcibly take private property for bike and walking trails.
S 1046, sponsored by Sen. Jim Guthrie (R-McCammon), would have prohibited condemning private property for trails, paths, greenways or other ways for walking, running, hiking, bicycling or equestrian use, unless adjacent to a highway, road or street.” Committee members who voted in favor of the bill were Chairman Jeff Siddoway, Vice Chairman Jim Rice, Steve Vick and Cliff Bayer. Voting against were Brent Hill, Curt McKenzie, Dan Johnson, Elliot Werk and Roy Lacey.
Health insurance exchange, Eminent domain measure, Rangeland wildfires, Idaho ag outlook
Governor Otter’s proposal to establish a state-operated health insurance exchange was unveiled this week when the Senate Commerce and Human Resources Committee introduced the legislation—Senate Bill 1042. The Idaho Farm Bureau Federation opposes the state exchange.
Under the bill, the state exchange will be overseen by a 16-member board, with 14 voting members, all appointed by the Governor and subject to confirmation by the state Senate.