BOISE, Idaho — The first session of the 67th Idaho Legislature wrapped up its twelfth week. It started January 9 with Governor Brad Little's State of the State Address. Lawmakers had a target date of March 24 to adjourn Sine Die, but their business carried over longer than that.
This session got off to a relatively slow start. In the first eight weeks only 15 bills had come across the governor's desk. Lawmakers picked up the pace substantially in the four weeks after that. As of Wednesday morning, 227 bills had come across the governor's desk. He has vetoed two.
He vetoed a bill that would have allowed parents to teach their kids drivers education and another on property tax relief. The property tax issue has since been remedied with a new bill the governor likes.
The legislature approved his "Idaho Launch" grants program to provide $8,000 to qualifying Idaho high school seniors for enrollment in an Idaho-based education or training program geared toward jobs in high demand in Idaho.
It has also focused on social issues, including clarifying Idaho's anti-abortion law. Lawmakers approved the so-called "bathroom bill" that will require Idaho public schools to keep bathrooms and changing rooms separate based on biological sex, as well as a bill to ban gender affirming care for minors,
The governor also signed into law a bill allowing execution by firing squad when lethal injection is unavailable.
During the taping of this edition of Viewpoint, KTVB Chief Political Reporter Joe Parris and Boise State Political Science Professor Jaclyn Kettler talked about what pushed lawmakers past their target date, and the flurry of activity as the session winds down.
Here is an excerpt:
Joe Parris: "It was a pretty good target date in the sense that was going to give us enough time to get things done. Now, there were some property tax discussions and some concerns with the property tax bill that really kind of created a rewrite. So that kind of complicated some situations, and they're also working through some budgets as well."
Doug Petcash: Dr. Kettler when you see this flurry of activity at the end of the session, and it happens every year, what are your concerns about the pace?
Dr. Jaclyn Kettler: "We know that they're trying to get a lot done, right? And they're ready to finish up and go home, but at the same time sometimes you see bills move really fast here at the end of the session so there can be concerns about transparency, how much time we really get to dive into the legislation that's being proposed or debated, as well as are there opportunities for the public to offer comments and engagement along the way as well."
On this edition of Viewpoint, Parris and Kettler break down some of the big issues in the legislature this year, including property tax relief, education funding, the firing squad law, and the social issues mentioned above.
Viewpoint airs Sunday mornings at 9 o'clock on KTVB Idaho's NewsChannel 7.
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