Legislative highlights this session
Senator Cheatham Newsletter – District 3
Below are some recent activities and highlights taking place in the Idaho Capitol. I hope you enjoy the information. For more details, you can log onto legislature.idaho.gov where you will find bills, committee recordings, and live stream videos of our House and Senate floor sessions. I look forward to your involvement.
PUBLIC SCHOOLS HIGHLIGHTS
For FY 2020, the legislature appropriated $109 million in additional new General Fund dollars over the current year appropriation. This equates to a 6.1 percent increase and new funding, including:
- A $49.7 million increase from the General Fund to fully fund year five of the five-year phase-in of the career ladder compensation system for Idaho’s educational instructors.
- $7.3 million for a 3 percent base salary increase for administrators and classified staff, which are categories outside of the career ladder.
- $21.8 million in discretionary funds. Of this amount, $7.2 million goes toward maintaining the current year funding per support unit at $27,481 and $14.6 million to include the discretionary amount to $28,416 per support unit for FY 2020. This equates to a 3.4 percent increase in discretionary funding over FY 2019, which includes funding for health insurance costs and other general operations.
- Fully funding the Governor’s K-3 literacy initiative recommendation at $13.1 million for FY 2020.
- Additional increases and decreases in several other distributions net a $109 million General Fund increase over the current year. The FY 2019 appropriation was based on 15,339 full-term support units and the FY 2020 appropriation is based on a projected 15,601 full-term support units, which is a 1.7 percent increase year-over-year. In addition to the amounts noted above, House Bill 153 increases the minimum starting teacher pay in FY 2020 to $38,500 and in FY 2021 to $40,000. The fiscal impact of that legislation for FY 2020 is $3,796,200 from the General Fund.
House Bill 0025 – Legislation on annexation, which amends existing law to provide a requirement regarding annexation of certain agricultural land and prevents land actively devoted to agriculture from being annexed without the express written permission of the owner. This legislation passed the House and Senate and was signed by the Governor.
House Bill 0060 – Regarding legislation cooperative marketing associations, which removes a provision regarding a voting limitation; provides for bylaw requirements; and revises marketing contract provisions. It aligns Idaho’s cooperative marketing association statute with existing Capper-Volstead provisions by adding a “one man, one vote” membership option. This change ensures that Idaho’s statute is not more restrictive than federal law. This legislation passed the House and Senate and was signed by the Governor.
House Bill 0080 – Legislation on fish and game, which amends existing law to revise provisions regarding certain agreements and compensation for damage by pronghorn antelope, elk, deer, and moose and expands the ability of owners and lessees of certain property to file damage claims for irrigation equipment and seed bed damage from wildlife. This legislation passed the House and Senate and was signed by the Governor.
House Bill 0176 – Legislation on potatoes, which amends existing law to revise definitions and to provide that certain rule making shall not be authorized. This bill updates the definition for “grower,” “shipper,” and “processor” in state law for the Idaho Potato Commission and restricts rule promulgation related to this statutory change for one year. This legislation passed the House and Senate.
Senate Bill 1024 – Legislation on crop residue burning, which amends existing law to revise provisions regarding payment of a fee and authorizes the Department of Environmental Quality to change the timing of when fees are paid to an annual invoice structure for actual acres burned rather than a fee due when acres are registered. The change will ensure farmers do not risk paying for acres they did not burn and will remove any confusion regarding a registration fee and the actual burn approval permitting process. Additionally, it will streamline the agency’s administrative processes. This legislation passed the House and Senate and was signed by the Governor.
Senate Bill 1039 – Legislation on Idaho Wolf Depredation Control Board, which amends and repeals existing law to remove a sunset date. This legislation passed the House and Senate and was signed by the Governor.
Senate Bill 1075a – Legislation on individuals with disabilities, which amends and adds to existing law to revise terminology and to clarify rights of individuals with service dogs and dogs-in-training. This bill amends certain sections of Idaho Code that affect individuals with disabilities who need service dogs. The bill also provides clarification on Idaho’s statutes regarding access for service dogs in areas of public accommodation. This legislation passed the House and Senate and was signed by the Governor.
Senate Bill 1083 – Legislation on irrigation and drainage, which amends existing law to revise provisions regarding encroachments on certain rights-of-way, maintenance of embankments, the prevention of damage to others associated with ditches, canals, works, or other aqueducts, buried irrigation conduit, and encroachments on certain easements and rights-of-way. The bill clarifies that the protections and obligations of water delivery rights-of-way extend to the operator of that right-of-way in addition to the owner. This legislation passed the House and Senate and was signed by the Governor.
CRIMINAL JUSTIC AND PUBLIC SAFETY
House Bill 0114 – Legislation on children, which adds to existing law to provide that female genital mutilation of a child shall be a felony. This legislation passed the House and Senate and was signed by the Governor.
House Bill 0209 – Legislation on peace officers, which amends existing law to authorize a peace officer to arrest a person without a warrant in certain instances. Last year, the legislature updated §18-3302 to provide for a misdemeanor charge to willful threats of violence directed at schools, school venues, school buses, school staff and/or students to include electronic means. This legislation allows peace officers to place a person who willfully threatens violence at schools into custody for evaluation. This legislation passed the House and Senate and was signed by the Governor.
Senate Bill 1004 – Legislation regarding the Idaho State Police, adding to and amending existing law to establish the Blue Alert system in Idaho when a suspect for a crime involving the death or serious injury of a peace officer has not been apprehended and law enforcement personnel have determined that the suspect may be a serious threat to the public, or when a peace officer becomes missing while in the line of duty under circumstances warranting concern for such peace officer’s safety. This legislation passed the House and Senate and was signed by the Governor.
Senate Bill 1005a – Legislation on human trafficking, which amends and repeals existing law to revise legislative intent, to revise the definition of “human trafficking,” to define terms, and to revise the penalty for human trafficking. This bill acknowledges the presence of human trafficking cases in Idaho and the importance of the law enforcement community receiving the necessary training to increase awareness and response to human trafficking cases. The bill provides guidance to law enforcement and prosecutors for the types of conduct that may be considered human trafficking under Idaho law. In addition, this legislation makes human trafficking an independent criminal offense rather than an enhancement to another criminal offense. This legislation passed the House and Senate and was signed by the Governor.
House Bill 0093 – Legislation on education, which amends existing law to provide that approved nontraditional educator preparation programs may receive funding under certain circumstances. Allows school districts and charter schools to enter into agreements with nontraditional teacher preparation programs to help recruit, select, train and retain teachers for hard to fill positions and make such programs eligible for state funding if they provide matching private dollars. Eligible programs must demonstrate that their teachers achieve above-average academic growth from students. This legislation passed the House and Senate and was signed by the Governor.
House Bill 0153 – Legislation on education, which amends existing law to revise the career ladder. This bill increases salaries in the first three cells of the residency rung on the career ladder, including increasing starting teacher pay. The proposed salary increases will be implemented over a two-year period. This legislation passed the House and Senate and was signed by the Governor.
Senate Bill 1058 – Legislation on education, which amends existing law to establish provisions regarding certificates for charter school administrators. Idaho requires charter school administrators to hold a traditional school administrator certificate. This bill creates a new charter school administrator certificate as an alternative to traditional administrator certificates. Administrators would be eligible for a charter school administrator certificate if they (1) hold a bachelor’s degree, (2) pass a criminal background check, (3) receive training on teacher evaluation, (4) demonstrate a charter school board of directors seeks to hire them and commits to overseeing their work, and (5) have a minimum amount of professional experience. This would not be a mandate on charter schools; charter school administrators could continue to hold a traditional administrator certificate or could hold a charter school administrator certificate. This legislation passed the House and Senate and was signed by the Governor.
House Bill 0103 – Legislation on elections, which amends existing law to provide for certain disclosures in elections to authorize a levy. Provides for a disclosure requirement for property tax levy election ballot questions. When a taxing district authorizes a levy election, the ballot must include a disclosure statement indicating the estimated average annual cost to a property owner per $100,000 of property value and the length of time. The county clerk will make the calculation and include the financial information on the disclosure statement on the levy ballot.
This legislation passed the House and Senate and was signed by the Governor.
Senate Bill 1113a – Legislation on campaign finance, which amends existing law to revise campaign finance reporting laws, applying requirements to local campaigns that meet a certain financial threshold, and creating a single reporting database for all elections within the Secretary of State’s office. This legislation passed the House and Senate and was signed by the Governor.
House Bill 0007 – Legislation on occupational licensing, which amends existing law to clarify the age requirement for nursing home administrator licensure and to provide a time limit for administrator-in-training programs. This bill specifies the timeframe of nursing home administrators-in-training programs and reduces the age requirement for licensure from twenty-one (21) to eighteen (18) years of age. These changes will clarify the requirements of the nursing home administrators-in-training program and reduce a barrier to employment. This legislation passed the House and Senate and was signed by the Governor.
House Bill 0155 – Legislation on liquor licenses, which amends existing law to provide for the boundaries of a year-round resort. This bill clarifies the definition of a year-round resort and makes several technical corrections. This legislation does not increase the number of licenses for a year-round resort. This legislation passed the House and Senate and was signed by the Governor.
House Bill 0156 – Legislation on Firearms, which amends existing law to revise the definition of a “qualified retired law enforcement officer.” Amends the definition of what constitutes a qualified retired law enforcement officer. It reduces the years of service from fifteen (15) to ten (10) for the amount of years required. This definition is in line with the current federal requirements to obtain the status. This legislation passed the House and Senate and was signed by the Governor.
House Bill 0182 – Legislation on pharmacists, which amends existing law to revise provisions regarding products that may be prescribed. This bill revises the definition of the “practice of pharmacy” to increase patient access to certain categories of medications that are low risk, if used under the supervision of a pharmacist. This legislation passed the House and Senate and was signed by the Governor.
Senate Bill 1028 – Legislation on worker’s compensation, which amends existing law to make psychological injuries suffered by first responders compensable. Identifies Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) otherwise known as Post Traumatic Stress Injury (PTSI) as an occupational injury that affects Idaho’s First Responders. Under current law, a mental injury must be accompanied by a physical injury. This changes current statute that if a First Responder has “clear and convincing” evidence of a physiological injury, the treatment would be handled through worker’s compensation. The statute has a sunset provision. This legislation passed the House and Senate and was signed by the Governor.
Senate Bill 1079 – Legislation on veterans, which amends existing law to revise financial relief and assistance provisions. This bill allows the Idaho Division of Veterans Services the ability to offer emergency relief grants to all eligible Idaho destitute veterans and their dependents instead of only those destitute veterans who come under the classifications of disabled or wartime. Based on current eligibility and classification criteria, no veterans were eligible for an emergency relief grant in FY2018 and only $6,000 was granted in FY2017. This legislation passed the House and Senate and was signed by the Governor.
Senate Bill 1080 – Legislation on veterans, which amends existing law to provide that interest generated by moneys in the Idaho Veterans Recognition Income Fund shall be maintained by the Division of Veterans Services. This legislation passed the House and Senate and was signed by the Governor.
HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES
House Bill 0109 – Legislation on health, adding to existing law to provide for a Maternal Mortality Review Committee that will investigate causes and factors associated with deaths relating to pregnancy or childbirth. This bill establishes a multi-disciplinary maternal mortality review committee within the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare to conduct a review of each maternal death in the state and to develop strategies for the prevention of maternal deaths. The committee will provide annual reports to the Idaho Legislature and other stakeholders. This legislation passed the House and Senate and was signed by the Governor.
House Bill 0064 – Legislation on abortion to protect the health of women and advance Idaho’s medical knowledge about the frequency and nature of abortion complications in Idaho. The data collected as a result of this legislation will provide statistical information about actual patients who receive treatment because of an abnormal or a deviant process or event arising from the performance or completion of an abortion. This legislation passed the House and Senate and was signed by the Governor.
Senate Bill 1049 – Legislation on abortion, which amends existing law to revise provisions regarding partial-birth abortion. This bill revises and updates provisions of Idaho Code section 18-613 prohibiting partial-birth abortions. This legislation passed the House and Senate and was signed by the Governor.
Senate Bill 1129a – Legislation on dentistry, which amends existing law to provide for dental therapists. This bill authorizes the Idaho Board of Dentistry to license mid-level dental providers who would be called dental therapists, who have completed education and training requirements prescribed by the Board, to perform a scope of procedures as set forth by the Board, only under the supervision of licensed dentists in Idaho. These providers would also be limited to discharging duties on behalf of the United States, through the Public Health Service, Indian Health Service or for a tribe contracted to perform such services on behalf of the United States. This legislation passed the House and Senate and was signed by the Governor.
Senate Bill 1204aa – Legislation on Medicaid Expansion which establishes several provisions of law regarding Medicaid and Medicaid sideboards. The sideboards include the following:
- Requires people on expanded Medicaid to work, study, volunteer and/or do job training at least 20 hours a week and prove compliance every six months. However, this work requirement does not apply in several situations, such as in the case of those under the age of 19 or over the age of 59; those who are pregnant; and those who are physically or intellectually unable to work, parents or caretakers who are the primary caregiver of a child under the age of 18 or to those with a disability to name a few.
- People who do not comply with the work rules will lose Medicaid coverage; or, if the work requirement waiver is not approved, the state will seek a waiver requiring a copay for medical care.
- Utilizes a managed care and “medical home” model. For family planning, patients can only go outside their medical home with a referral.
- Seeks a waiver to leave people who are 100 to 138 percent of the poverty level on private health insurance on the exchange.
- Requires the Director of the Department of Health and Welfare to research and apply for federal waivers that would allow Medicaid funds to cover the treatment of adults in institutions for mental disease. Under federal law, Medicaid funds are prohibited from being used in such institutions, even if the treatment is medically necessary.
- States the Legislature can decide whether to keep or discontinue expansion if the federal government’s share of funding drops below 90%.
Senate Bill 1097 – Legislation on insurance, which adds to existing law to provide for coverage under a health benefit plan for participants in clinical trials. Helps to ensure that routine medical care costs will be covered by a patient’s insurance plan while a patient is enrolled in a clinical trial. Clinical research is an essential element in advancing health care, improving patient outcomes and reducing the cost of health care. Sponsors of clinical trials are required by federal law to cover all research-related costs in a clinical trial. This legislation ensures that health benefit plans cover the costs for the same standard of care a patient would receive if they were not in a clinical trial, while not being required to pay for the costs of the trial itself. This legislation passed the House and Senate and was signed by the Governor.
House Bill 0001 – Legislation on water, which provides that the director of the Department of Water Resources shall subordinate permits and licenses for water storage projects larger than one thousand acre-feet issued after a specified date to the capture and retention of water in existing on-stream storage reservoirs during and following flood control operations until the date of allocation. This legislation passed the House and Senate and was signed by the Governor.
House Bill 0141 – Legislation on mines, which amends existing law to revise references to mining operations and to provide for financial assurance. Addresses the surface impacts of underground mines and provides for actual cost estimation of reclamation and related environmental activities. The bill also includes updating financial assurance methods, requiring financial assurance for reclamation and long-term post closure management activities, requiring reclamation plan and financial assurance reviews, and ensuring that there will be no duplication in financial assurances between government agencies. This legislation passed the House and Senate and was signed by the Governor.
Senate Bill 1088a – Legislation on fish and game, which amends existing law to revise provisions regarding the issuance of free permits and tags to military veterans with disabilities. This legislation directs the Idaho Division of Veterans Services (IDVS) to screen applicants for the five big game tags allocated to disabled Veterans to ensure the most deserving are prioritized for those tags. Two of the tags will be allocated to a hunt designated by IDVS while the remaining three tags will be designated by the Idaho Fish and Game Commission. This legislation passed the House and Senate and was signed by the Governor.
House Bill 0165 – Legislation on income tax refunds, which repeals, amends, and adds to existing law to allow an individual to designate an income tax refund or payment to certain charities, to revise minimum collection thresholds, and to require an annual report by the State Tax Commission.Various sections of Idaho Code create trust funds in the state treasury for the benefit of certain philanthropic purposes. Voluntary contributions to each fund are made by Idaho taxpayers who designate on their state income tax forms the amount they wish to contribute to one or more of the trust funds. Idaho Code provides that each fund must receive a minimum of $25,000 for two consecutive years in order to remain on Idaho income tax forms. This legislation adjusts the minimum level of annual contributions from $25,000 per year to $20,000 for two consecutive years. It also requires that the Idaho State Tax Commission report to the Revenue and Taxation Committee of the House of Representatives the trust funds that have failed to meet the threshold for the prior two years. This legislation passed the House and Senate and was signed by the Governor.
House Bill 0015 – Legislation on sales and use tax, which amends existing law to provide an exemption from the sales or use tax for any fees associated with public records requests. Idaho Codes section 63-3622AA, established a sales tax exemption for official documents “where a fee, the amount of which is set by the Idaho Code, is imposed or charged.” This bill clarifies that purchasing copies under a public records request is exempt from sales tax whether a fee is set or not. This legislation passed the House and Senate and was signed by the Governor.
House Bill 0076 – Legislation on transportation, which amends and adds to existing law to provide for electric-assisted bicycles. This bill provides for the regulation of electronic bicycles. The bill incorporates certain categories of electronic bicycles into state law, and uses them to establish a framework for how cities, counties and the state may regulate the use them without preemption. Local control will remain in place. This legislation also clarifies that electronic bikes
are not mopeds or motorcycles and they will have to follow all existing laws and “rules of the road” for bicycles. This legislation passed the House and Senate and was signed by the Governor.
House Bill 0089 – Legislation on highways and bridges, which amends current law to designate the portion of U.S. 20 that passes through Idaho as the Idaho Medal of Honor Highway. As part of a national State effort to designate a single route across America as a reminder of recipients of the nation’s highest military decoration, the Medal of Honor, Highway/Route 20 is designated as the targeted national route. Idaho’s portion of U.S. Highway 20 begins near Parma, Idaho, and ends at the Idaho state line at the Continental Divide/Targhee Pass entering Montana west of West Yellowstone. This route shall also be known as the Idaho Medal of Honor Highway, honoring current and future Medal of Honor recipients. Highway Route 20 starts in Newport, OR and ends in Boston, MA. This legislation passed the House and Senate and was signed by the Governor.
Senate Bill 1131a – Legislation on traffic enforcement, which amends existing law to provide for increased fines regarding overtaking and passing a stopped school bus with activated signals. This legislation passed the House and Senate and was signed by the Governor.
Change in Employee Compensation (CEC) and Benefit Cost Changes
- Regarding all agency budgets, for benefit costs, every agency’s budget bill maintains the current appropriated amount for health insurance at $11,650 per eligible FTP
- Provides a 5.5% increase for the employer’s share of PERSI contributions
- Temporarily reduces the rate agencies pay the Division of Human Resources for its services. The bills also provide funding for the equivalent of a 3% change in employee compensation for permanent employees, with a minimum increase of $550 for each employee and the remaining amount to be distributed based on merit, based on the recommendations of the Legislature’s Change in Employee Compensation (CEC) Committee.