Recapping the 2024 Legislative Session

Legislative WrapUp 2024

Written by Ryan McGoldrick, CVI’s Program Director

Each session, we are committed to a strong presence in the Statehouse in order to work with lawmakers, partners, and voters in order to create a political environment that we can count on to protect our natural environment. When the legislative session begins each January, we fill a unique niche by engaging in both conservation and election policy. For the conservation values of Idahoans to show up at the ballot box, it is critical that we protect your right to vote.

While every legislative session includes losses, this was a great year for conservation in the Statehouse. Here are the six big issues we focused on in the 2024 Legislative Session:

  1. Agency Budgets
    Idahoans care about conservation and support a clean energy transition, and that should be reflected in agency budgets. In 2024, two of our biggest wins were in the agency budgets of the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation (IDPR) and the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ). IDPR secured an additional $20M for outdoor recreation, including $5M for the Outdoor Recreation Fund Advisory Committee, one of our ongoing “ID Rather Be Outside” campaign priorities. DEQ’s Gem State Air Quality Initiative planning funding advanced through the budget process, allowing the agency to apply for $100M for critical climate priorities
  2. Workforce Training
    The clean energy transition can generate thousands of family-wage jobs in Idaho, and we want to ensure those jobs go to Idaho residents. The Idaho LAUNCH Program supports cleantech workforce training, and we were excited to support a $70M investment to this critical program through H722. Unfortunately, we also saw the legislature turn down a $1.3M grant that the Governor’s office and the Office of Energy and Mineral Resources (OEMR) was selected to receive for energy efficiency workforce training. Our tax dollars funded this program, but the decision to turn the grant down means Idahoans won’t see the program’s benefits. 
  3. Pesticides
    Idaho has a strong agricultural economy, so we were glad to help stop the repeated attempts to pass legislation that would limit your ability to pursue legal action if you were harmed by pesticides. If passed, H653, S1245, and S1432 all would have given legal immunity to international pesticide corporations at the expense of Idahoans. Thank you to all of you who submitted comments and testified! The overwhelming opposition from across the political spectrum stopped this legislation not just once, but three times
  4. Hunting and Poaching – Idaho’s hunters and anglers are critical to both conservation and our outdoor recreation economy. It’s essential that we protect the sportsman industry from bad actors. That’s why CVI supported the passage of H404, which would prevent individuals from accessing the precise location of wildlife through a public records request for purposes of unfair chase. We joined the Idaho Wildlife Federation in supporting this bill, as well as in opposition of S1345, which would have limited the ability of Conservation Officers to investigate potential poaching. 
  5. Ada County Highway District (ACHD)
    In recent years, CVI has been active in ACHD elections to ensure that Ada County has a transportation system that protects our clean air. A few high-ranking officials in the House have responded to these overwhelmingly popular changes by introducing repeated attacks on the agency. This session, we organized comments and worked with stakeholders to stop legislation that undermined ACHD’s local control (H728) and legislation that would have removed your duly elected commissioners from office (H637). 
  6. Elections & Voting
    In 2024, we supported the passage of legislation that protects voters from intimidation at the polls (S1244), critical updates to our voting systems and security (S1394), and legislation that ensures that unopposed candidates are not left off the ballot (S1260). Hundreds of you also submitted comments to help CVI stop harmful legislation that would have stripped away your right to vote by mail. Finally, while S1273 didn’t pass this session, we want to extend a special thank you to Secretary of State Phil McGrane for introducing legislation to create Voter Guides in Idaho. Voter Guides are supported by 78% of Idahoans, and we hope to see this bipartisan issue pass in coming sessions.

Our legislative team may have been on the front lines in the Statehouse, but it’s the collective might of the conservation voter movement that moved mountains this session! CVI supporters submitted over 1,200 comments to their representatives on priority bills, leading several lawmakers to rescind bad bills or vote in opposition during committee and floor hearings. Idaho’s engaged and informed constituents proved once again how impactful we can be as we work together to protect what we love most about Idaho; our natural resources, pristine beauty, abundant outdoor recreation, and so much more that only comes in the great outdoors.