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Senate passes the Idaho Launch bill, sent to Governor's desk

House Bill 24 offers $8,500 scholarships to qualifying high school graduates who are pursuing in-demand careers.

BOISE, Idaho — Gov. Brad Little's (R-Idaho) Idaho Launch bill - originally announced in his 2023 State of the State address - passed the Senate floor behind a 20-15 vote.

His signature would ink the legislation into law.

The bill, known officially as House Bill 24, offers qualifying high school graduates with $8,500 scholarships to pursue in-demand career paths in Idaho. The scholarship is available for use at a career technical training center, community college, or an Idaho university.

Dissenting Senators debated the Launch bill most benefits corporations. Sen. Scott Herndon (R-Sagle) said the bill stands in the way of a free market.

"I would prefer that we let capitalism do what it does best, identify demands and naturally fill it with supply," Sen. Herndon said. "And we as a state focus on our constitutional mission in the secondary education space. And if we have any excess revenues - which are taxes - we return that to our taxpayers so they can put that to work in a way they see fit."

Senate President Pro Tempore Chuck Winder (R-Boise) supported the Launch bill during the Senate floor debate.

"Yes the government is paying the money. But where did the money come from?" Sen. Winder said. "The taxpayers. Who are the taxpayers? The people listed here on your list - on your desk - they are the small business owners, the neighbors, the people who work and live around you. They're the ones who would benefit from it."

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