Week 9 at the Legislature

at the Statehouse (9)

We’ve gone from fast paced to warp speed! 

Legislation is flying across the rotunda, bills are being introduced left and right in privileged committees, and the Ways & Means Committee (infrequently used except for on-the-fly introductions) has pumped out a couple of bad bills in the past few legislative work days.

Here’s the top of our priority list:

HB263 County Wide Districts (AKA making ACHD partisan)
This legislation does a number of things and has a lot of concerning components. 1) It would make ACHD Commissioner elections partisan, which does nothing for safety and only increases political animosity 2) It ends current Commissioners’ terms early 3) It presents an opportunity for gerrymandering of new highway districts. 

This legislation would insert political squabbling into a nonpartisan commission tasked with non-political work. You can take action here

SJR101 Constitutional Amendment on Initiatives and Referenda
A hearing in House State Affairs hasn’t been scheduled yet, but is expected soon. SJR101 would be disastrous for the initiative process in Idaho, making it unusable and forcing voters to defend their Constitutional rights. We can kill this bill if we keep up pressure! Take action here

HB271 Trees < Billboards 
This legislation would give sign and billboard owners the opportunity to cut down any tree within the public right of way within 200 feet of an advertisement. Cities, the state, and counties have invested millions into trees and landscaping – those taxpayer dollars shouldn’t be wasted for more billboards. 

This bill was held in committee subject to the call of the Chair, meaning it’ll be back after the sponsor makes some tweaks to the language. When it does come back, we’ll be there to testify again. If you are an arborist, business owner who supports the creation of an urban canopy (it’s good for business!) or have other relevant experience, send me an email. The Chair of House Transportation, where the bill will resurface, does not accept virtual testimony. I can help get your comments submitted and in front of legislators.

There’s a lot of other bills going right now, with more every day. We’re also tracking new (and lingering) bills on Vote By Mail, the Idaho Department of Lands and the Idaho Dept. of Parks & Recreation, and various other elections issues. 

Keep up the good work!