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Capitol Reflections: 2024 Session, Issue 13

By: Idaho Farm Bureau Governmental Affairs



“Were we directed from Washington when to sow and when to reap, we should soon want bread.” - Thomas Jefferson







Legislature Adjourns Sine Die



The legislature originally set a target date to adjourn on March 22, early in the session. However, they were nowhere close to being done on that date due to a variety of factors. Their pace really quickened over the last two weeks of March, and they worked hard to wrap up most of the important issues before leaving town.

Last Wednesday the legislature officially recessed, having completed the vast majority of adopting a balanced budget, which is their only constitutionally required duty. They came back on Wednesday, April 10 for their final session.  They typically wait for a week to finally adjourn so they can address any bills that Governor Little may decide to veto. Governor Little did veto two bills, S1314 which would authorize the state to invest a small portion of idle reserve funds into gold and silver, and S1323, which would clarify that the Public Utilities Commission is not authorized to regulate a water system which delivers water to a single entity. The legislature did attempt to override the veto on S1323, but was unsuccessful. They then finished up a few loose ends on the budget and adjourned Sine Die for the year. 

It has been a rambunctious and sometimes contentious session. However, many good things have been accomplished during the session, most of which you have read about each week here in the Capitol Reflections newsletter.

IFBF would like to take a moment to thank each of our members who have taken the time to learn about the issues, and especially those who have reached out to their legislators, asking them to support Farm Bureau’s position. Nothing is more effective than when our members talk to their legislators and let them know how bills will affect them on their farming and ranching operations.

We would also like to thank all of the legislators for their hard work and the time they spend away from their families and their normal jobs. It is a huge sacrifice for every one of them to be here representing their constituents. We appreciate those who work so hard to protect the rights and liberties of Idaho citizens. We have appreciated working with each of them and we look forward to making further progress in the future.









Wolf Trapping Limited by Court Ruling



It’s a good thing that bills such as H592 and H612 became law this legislative session, as a federal judge made it more difficult to control wolves in the state of Idaho. The recent ruling prohibits Idaho from allowing trapping on public and private land between March 1 and November 30 in the Panhandle, Clearwater, Salmon, and Upper Snake River regions as there is a possibility that grizzly bears can get caught in the traps. The remaining months are when grizzly bears are denning, so there isn’t as much of a risk. The lawsuit that was filed originally called for a ban year-round on wolf trapping in those areas. The judge cited two incidents of bears being taken by wolf traps in the state; however, the traps were illegal anyway, and no bear had been taken in a legal trap.

The court was unmoved by that important clarification, stating, “In examining the appropriate relief, the Court is mindful that the balance of hardships always favors preservation of the species. Thus, the reality of even one take could have profound effects upon Idaho’s grizzly bear population.”  As a somewhat silver-lining, if producers are struggling with wolves during the prohibited months, a government trapper can still do the trapping.

As a reminder, H592 creates a $225,000 fund to address grizzly bear and wolf conflicts in the state. Of that amount, $150,000 will be used for depredation reimbursements of validated losses and, if any money is left at the end of the year, probable losses from the predators. The remaining $75,000 will be for producers to use for preventative measures. H612 allows the Wolf Depredation Control Board to pay for damages based off historical death loss prior to the 1995 wolf introduction. If a producer has high numbers of livestock not returning in a wolf-prone area, they may submit for reimbursement to the board. 

IFBF was involved from start to finish in the lawsuit to ensure member’s property, livestock, and ability to trap were protected. Unfortunately, it did not go the way we had hoped. We encourage members to utilize funding passed through recent legislation and work with state agencies to circumvent interactions with both grizzly bears and wolves.







Domestic Well Bill Gets Info. Hearing      



In the final weeks of the legislative session, S1370 regarding changes to the state’s domestic exempt wells statutes received an informational hearing in the Senate Local Government and Taxation Committee. An informational hearing provides an opportunity for legislators to learn more about a specific topic or issue without having to make an immediate decision or vote. It is a low pressure setting to make sure that there is a certain baseline level of understanding before having to decide on policy changes.

The details of S1370 can be found in the article on this topic in Issue 7 of this year’s Capitol Reflections. This remains a top priority for Farm Bureau, and we were disappointed to not see it advance this year. Nonetheless, we remain committed to seeing this topic further discussed and negotiated by stakeholders over the interim so as to be ready for passage next year. This topic is too important to not address, as our state’s water resources are among Idaho’s most important natural resources.

IFBF thanks Sen. Doug Ricks (R-Rexburg) for allowing the informational hearing and for the committee members who took time to learn about the details of this topic and for asking questions. We also express a huge thanks to the Idaho Water Users Association for their work in bringing this bill forward and for leading the workgroup of stakeholders that have provided input. 

Farm Bureau looks forward to working with legislators and all stakeholders to make sure we can be successful on this topic in the coming year. IFBF Policy #29 outlines our policy position on the state's domestic water use exemption. 







Legislators Earn Farm Bureau "Friend of Agriculture" Award




Every two years the Idaho Farm Bureau reviews the votes on selected bills that are important to our membership to determine which Legislators will receive the prestigious IFBF “Friend of Agriculture” award. This year 12 Senators and 23 Representatives received the coveted award. 

20 bills were used for our Legislative scorecard during the 2023 and 2024 sessions. Bill subjects included property taxes, state grazing permits, Agricultural Protection Areas, property rights, immigration, wolf depredation, water rights and other important issues.

The following individuals voted in alignment with Farm Bureau positions 100% of the time on the selected bills over the past two legislative sessions.

District 1 (Boundary and Bonner Counties)
House Seat B. **Sage Dixon, Ponderay**

District 5 (Kootenai County)
House Seat A. Ron Mendive, Coeur d’Alene

District 6 (Latah, Lewis and Nez Perce Counties)
House Seat B. Brandon Mitchell, Moscow

District 7 (Adams, Idaho and Nez Perce Counties)
House Seat B. Charlie Shepherd, Pollock

District 8 (Boise, Valley, Elmore and Custer Counties)
Senate. Geoff Schroeder, Mountain Home
House Seat B. Megan Blanksma, Hammett

District 9 (Payette, Washington and Canyon Counties)
House Seat B. Judy Boyle, Midvale

District 10 (Ada and Canyon Counties)
House Seat A. Speaker Mike Moyle, Star

District 12 (Canyon County)
House Seat A. Jeff Cornilles, Nampa

District 14 (Ada and Gem Counties)
Senate. C. Scott Grow, Eagle
House Seat A. Ted Hill, Eagle

District 15 (Ada County)
House Seat B. Dori Healey, Boise

District 20 (Ada County)
Senate. Pro Tem Chuck Winder, Boise
House Seat A. Joe Palmer, Meridian
House Seat B. James Holtzclaw, Meridian

District 21 (Ada County)
House Seat B. Jeff Ehlers, Meridian

District 22 (Ada County)
Senate. Lori Den Hartog, Meridian
House Seat A. John Vander Woude, Nampa
House Seat B. Jason Monks, Meridian

District 23 (Owyhee, Canyon and Ada Counties)
Senate. Todd Lakey, Nampa
House Seat A. Melissa Durrant, Kuna

District 25 (Twin Falls County)
Senate. Linda Wright Hartgen, Twin Falls

District 27 (Cassia, Minidoka and Oneida Counties)
Senate. Kelly Arthur Anthon, Burley

District 29 (Bannock County)
House Seat A. Dustin Manwaring, Pocatello

District 30 (Bingham and Butte Counties)
Senate. Julie VanOrden, Pingree
House Seat A. David Cannon, Blackfoot
House Seat B. Julianne Young, Blackfoot

District 31 (Clark, Fremont, Jefferson and Lemhi Counties)
Senate. Van Burtenshaw, Terreton
House Seat B. Rod Furniss, Rigby

District 32 (Bonneville County)
Senate. Kevin Cook, Idaho Falls
House Seat B. Wendy Horman, Idaho Falls

District 33 (Bonneville County)
Senate. Dave Lent, Idaho Falls
House Seat A. Barbara Ehardt, Idaho Falls

District 35 (Bear Lake, Bonneville, Caribou and Teton Counties)
Senate. Mark Harris, Soda Springs
House Seat A. Kevin Andrus, Lava Hot Springs


Legislators denoted by ** are retiring from office this year.

Bryan Searle, President of the Idaho Farm Bureau stated “We sincerely appreciate those Legislators who take the time to learn about the issues and make informed decisions, especially when it concerns agriculture.   We express our gratitude to each of these Legislators for their outstanding support of Idaho agriculture and Idaho Farm Bureau policies.”

We encourage County Farm Bureaus to continue building relationships with their legislators so they have a connection with agriculture in their districts. 

Farm Bureau policies are implemented when legislators vote with Farm Bureau positions. These legislators should be thanked for their support of your policies over the past two years.







Bills During the 2024 Session



Below is a description of several of the bills that Farm Bureau followed during this session:

H404 – Records, wildlife: Authorized Idaho Department of Fish and Game to limit wildlife location data shared through public records requests. IFBF Supported. LAW.

H412, H414 and H533 – Commercial Vehicles: These bills dealt with providing more efficient ways for trucks to keep moving through ports of entry, renewing CDLs, and allowing idling when required for trucker safety or load necessity. IFBF Supported. LAW.

H468 – Rangeland Improvement Act: Directs ISDA to seek funding to carry out grazing improvement projects on state and federal lands. IFBF Supported. LAW.

H472 – Land inspections, ag director: Prohibits ISDA from inspecting plants or plant pests on private land without obtaining permission, a warrant, or having probable cause. IFBF Supported. LAW.

H592 – Depredation: Creates a new state fund for depredation reimbursement and prevention from grizzly bears and wolves. IFBF Supported. LAW.

H608a – Agricultural Protection Areas: Allows counties to consider applications from landowners to protect active agricultural production land for a twenty-year term. IFBF Supported. LAW.

H612 – Wolf Depredation Control Board: Allows the Wolf Depredation Control Board to pay for damages based off historical death loss prior to the 1995 wolf introduction. IFBF Supported. LAW.

H712a – Estray Livestock: Provides penalties for individuals who refuse to gather their stray livestock and provides compensation for crop damages. IFBF Supported. LAW.

HJR2 – Indebtedness, limits:  Proposed to amend the Idaho Constitution to reduce the supermajority vote needed to pass bonds to just 55% in years where there are no state-wide elections.  IFBF Opposed.  Held in House.

S1243 – Grazing, state land: Allows certain state grazing leaseholders to apply to convert a state grazing lease into a renewable state grazing permit on lands recently acquired from the federal government through an exchange. IFBF Supported. LAW.

S1245 – Pesticides, warning labels: Clarifies that existing federal regulations of pesticide labels shall be sufficient to satisfy any requirements for a warning regarding health or safety of such products. IFBF Supported. Failed in the Senate.

S1342 – Eastern Snake, ground water: Provides clarification and expansion of common ground water supply in the Eastern Snake River Plain. IFBF Supported. LAW.

S1342 – Grazing leases: Extends the maximum length of state grazing leases to 40 years at the discretion of IDL and the Land Board. IFBF Supported. LAW.

S1370 – Water, subdivisions: Requires the use of shared or public water systems in subdivisions with 10 or more lots (where each lot is 5 acres or smaller), requires that surface water being used for irrigation on land must continue to be used for irrigation when that land is developed, and authorizes a county to consider water supply conditions in the comprehensive planning process. IFBF Supported. Held in Senate Local Government Committee

S1404 – Search and seizure, private land: Extends existing, court recognized protections against warrantless search to all private property, including open fields. IFBF Supported. Held in Senate Judiciary and Rules Committee.

SCR111 – Veterinarians: Directs the Idaho State Board of Education to begin conversations with the state of Utah and Utah State University to potentially establish a cooperative agreement for Idaho students to participate in Utah's veterinary program. IFBF Supported. Adopted.

SJM102 – Immigration, labor, security: Directs congress to improve border security and improve the guest worker program to account for year- round agricultural needs. IFBF Supported. Adopted.

SJM103 – Snake River dams, breaching, oppose: Expresses opposition to the federal government for the removal or breaching of the dams on the Columbia-Snake River System and its tributaries. IFBF Supported. Adopted.









Resources Available to Follow During Session:

Legislative Website Homepage: HERE

2024 Legislative Session Bill Center: HERE

List of Senate Committee Assignments: HERE

List of House Committee Assignments: HERE

Current Senate Committee Agendas: HERE

Current House Committee Agendas: HERE

Watch Committee Meetings and Floor Sessions Live: HERE

Governor’s Bill Action and Legislative Communications: HERE