Apr. 8—Industrial hemp finally made it over the hump Wednesday.
So did martial law, and funding for broadband infrastructure.
However, a bill that effectively eliminates the state and local indigent care program ran into opposition and was sent to the
It was another fast-paced day at the Idaho Statehouse. Here are some details:
BALANCE OF POWER — Addressing the balance of power between the executive and legislative branches was a top priority for Republican lawmakers heading into the 2021 session.
They started work on the issue even before the Legislature convened in January, and introduced more than two dozen bills on the topic.
On Wednesday, the 87th day of the session, Senate Bill 1136 became the first balance of power bill to make it through the entire legislative process.
The bill limits the governor's emergency powers during a state of "extreme peril," such as a terrorist attack or violent insurrection.
It allows the governor in these situations to issue rules and orders that are "necessary to support the
The bill caps the length of emergency declarations at 60 days, unless the Legislature authorizes an extension. If the declaration is needed solely for the purposes of accessing federal funds or resources, it can remain in place beyond the 60 days. However, the governor can't use a declaration of extreme peril to set aside state law, or to limit or suspend any constitutional rights.
All the representatives from north central
HEMP GAINS APPROVAL — Years worth of work on industrial hemp came to a head Wednesday, when the
All three senators from north central
If the governor signs the bill into law — which is not a sure thing —
House Bill 316 says anyone who qualifies for Medicaid or private health insurance would no longer be eligible for assistance through the taxpayer-funded indigent program, which covers medical bills for people who otherwise can't afford treatment.
Given the availability of expanded Medicaid services, or subsidized health insurance through the state exchange, supporters of the legislation say taxpayers should no longer be on the hook for this assistance.
The estimated cost of that treatment could be as much as
"If the number is
Shifting that burden to hospitals could be their financial undoing, he said.
"This bill is potentially catastrophic to Intermountain," Moyers said.
Whitlock said every hospital in the state has similar concerns — particularly since HB 316 has an emergency clause that would shift indigent costs to them immediately.
"This bill says it doesn't matter if hospitals have budgeted (for the added expense). It doesn't matter if they've hired staff. Upon signature by the governor, it's going to be handled this way," he said.
The bill sponsor, Rep.
The legislation also shifts financial responsibility for public health districts from the state to the counties. That would save the state about
"I think it's an opportunity to get everyone at the table, and we'll get a good solution that will be right for
BROADBAND FUNDS — The joint budget committee approved
The appropriation includes
The remaining funds are state general fund dollars generated by a 5 percent budget holdback the governor ordered at the start of the coronavirus pandemic. They're being repurposed to help improve
Spence covers politics for the Tribune. He may be contacted at [email protected] or (208) 791-9168.
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