2024 Legislation

The Good, the Bad, the Ugly: 2024 Legislative Session Recap

From Rep. Heather Scott (Dist 2), Idaho Freedom Caucus

WINS: In early February, House conservatives decisively ousted the House Republican Majority Leader, who consistently undermined GOP principles and conservative lawmakers. This action demonstrated our commitment to prioritizing the interests of conservative Republican House members over corporate lobbyists, the liberal Main Street Caucus, and the executive branch, thus reaffirming our dedication to liberty-minded governance.

In this session, we proposed, debated, and successfully implemented a more transparent budgeting process. This change brings more transparency to government agency spending, making it easier for lawmakers to distinguish between a government agency’s essential needs and non-essential wants. Now, both lawmakers and citizens can scrutinize spending more effectively.

Conservative House members ramped up efforts to push back against executive branch overreach. We stopped bureaucratic agencies from unilaterally deciding on public property sales and reduced the influence of executive branch bureaucrats in some specific legislative matters. These steps are important for restoring balance between government branches.

SETBACKS: Despite our legislative successes, we also faced setbacks. Unfortunately, good bills addressing domestic terrorism language, immigration enforcement, and education choice were stalled or rejected. These challenges show how hard it can be for conservatives to promote our values in a legislative environment that doesn’t always align with our principles.

Executive agencies wield significant influence over many legislators, who often approve major financial decisions without adequate oversight. Recent controversies highlight the urgent need for more oversight, accountability, and transparency in government operations. These include the proposed purchase of the University of Phoenix by the University of Idaho and the sale of valuable Idaho Transportation Department property in Boise using taxpayer funds.

From Parrish Miller, Idaho Freedom Foundation:

BUDGETS: The legislature passed the biggest Medicaid budget ever, a whopping $4.7 billion monster. There wasn’t any reform in this budget. It just continued an unsustainable program that relies increasingly on federal dollars that add to an unsustainable and potentially ruinous federal debt.

The Legislature passed bills this year to keep alive the unnecessary immunization assessment board (-2) It also jumped back into researching maternal mortality (-2) after shutting down a wasteful committee on the subject last year. Legislators also expanded government by creating an independent (and unaccountable) office of health and social services ombudsman (-3).

Another big miss was the budget for colleges and universities. The maintenance budget provided $684 million to institutions that continue to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion, as IFF has documented. Legislators, not satisfied with giving colleges just the maintenance budget, voted to give colleges a $16 million top-up, effectively rewarding them for continuing to stubbornly push their Marxist agenda.

EDUCATION CHOICE: Conservatives believe in education choice. Yet once again, the Idaho Legislature failed to advance any meaningful proposals to allow parents and families the freedom to take their education dollars out of failing government schools and to invest them in superior private alternatives.

FREE MARKETS: Once upon a time, conservatives believed in free markets, where government kept its distance and allowed providers and consumers to engage in commerce, free of government intrusion. Unfortunately, the Idaho Legislature seems to have other ideas. It imposed the heavy hand of government on pharmacy benefit managers (-2), motor vehicle manufacturers (-2), and electrical contractors (-1). Legislators also voted to micromanage how health benefit plans pay for contraceptives (-2).

The lack of support for free markets was also evident in the decision to pass bills to create new government programs to facilitate government-approved improvements to commercial real estate (-3) and pursue a wide variety of grazing improvement projects (-3).

From Sen. Scott Herndon (Dist 1):

“I signed that stinking library bill.”

Governor Brad Little told Idaho Reports. He said the sponsors addressed most of his concerns from last year, and he doesn’t want to send the message to lawmakers that if they do earnestly work to address his objections he will simply veto their legislation again.

Thanks to the Idaho Freedom Caucus members for killing another bad library bill earlier this session (S1289), with the Democrats on the senate floor, H710 came at the end of the session. H710 will finally close the loophole that has allowed kids to get obscene materials at taxpayer funded government libraries.

At least the governor signed the bill this year. Last year he vetoed House Bill 314, and the House failed by one vote to override the veto. This was the third year of the legislature attempting to solve the problem at public libraries and schools.

We conservatives had a lot of wins this session for protecting children:

  • H498 requires online porn distributors to verify age before online porn access.
  • H71 last year blocked child transgender surgeries and medical treatments.
  • S1100 last year prevents transgenders from using girls bathrooms and locker rooms.
  • H668 blocked taxpayer funding of all transgender medical treatments.
  • Now, H710 blocks obscene materials from children at libraries and schools.
From Idaho Family Policy Center

Governor Brad Little signed H617 into law, repealing the statewide syringe and needle exchange program that provided taxpayer-funded needles to illicit drug users. Gov. Little signed H597 school vaccine exemption and AI-generated child porn bills. Gov. Little also signed H465, which criminalizes artificial intelligence-generated sexual depictions of identifiable children.

From Dorothy Moon, Idaho GOP Chairwoman

April 4, 2024

As the 2024 legislative session comes to a close, I would like to look back on the impact of the Idaho Republican Party on our political process.

Just before the session began, the Idaho GOP State Central Committee met to consider a series of resolutions proposed by precinct committeemen throughout our state. The purpose of these resolutions is to present a platform for Republican legislators to pass laws that reflect the will of the Republican grassroots.

Our legislative liaisons, Sen. Glenneda Zuiderveld and Rep. Julianne Young, did a great job representing the party at the Capitol this year. I want to highlight three bills that started as Idaho GOP resolutions and ended up signed into law.

‘Sine Die’ by Brian Almon, Gem State Chronicle

Four months and two days ago I sat in the House gallery to watch Gov. Brad Little give his State of the State Address on the first day of the session. Today, I sat in the same place to watch the final moments. Read more.

For a recap of all bills in the 2024 legislative session, visit Gem State Chronicle’s Session Snapshot page here.

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