Legislative Update

This past week at the Capitol the Governor signed H406 into law. This important legislation will establish a mandatory minimum sentence for those convicted of trafficking fentanyl within the state of Idaho. H406 will serve as a deterrent, sending a signal to drug traffickers that Idaho takes its security seriously.

The House has advanced another piece of legislation: H521, which lowers the state income tax rate and creates a school facilities maintenance fund. This legislation passed overwhelmingly, 61-6-3. H521 awaits a hearing in the Senate Local Government & Taxation Committee.

In addition to H521, JFAC voted 16-4 for full funding for LAUNCH. This grant program offers up to $8000 to graduating high school seniors to enter training for in-demand careers in Idaho. The LAUNCH funding will now head to the full House. Both of these show our dedication to our students throughout Idaho and our investment in our future. I am proud to support H521 and LAUNCH.

Rep. Chenele Dixon

Notable Legislative Activity

House Bill 406 – Mandatory Minimum Sentencing, Fentanyl Trafficking

On Monday, February 26, House Bill 406 was signed into Idaho State law by the Governor. The bill, sponsored by Representatives Chris Allgood (11) and Ted Hill (14) ensures anyone convicted of fentanyl trafficking within the state will face a minimum of three years in prison. H406 adds fentanyl to Idaho’s already established mandatory minimum drug sentencing laws that includes other deadly drugs, such as meth, heroin, and cocaine. This new law will now work towards reducing the flow of fentanyl into Idaho’s border by targeting those who manufacture, sell, or deliver fentanyl in Idaho. This law will not target individual users, victims, or those who are struggling with addiction.

Read H406

House Bill 502 – Respectful Disposal of Unclaimed Human Remains

House Bill 502 passed through the House floor Monday, February 26, with overwhelming support to send it to the Senate Commerce and Human Resources Committee. Sponsored by Rep. Stephanie Mickelsen (32), H502 will allow for funeral directors or morticians to dispose of unclaimed human ashes in the respectful funeral end-of-life processes if the remains are not claimed within one year. H502 helps clarify Idaho Statute that does not indicate what mortuaries and crematoriums are allowed to do when faced with this situation.

Read H502

House Bill 523 – Health Care Sharing Ministries, Eligible Medical Savings Account Expense

House Bill 523 includes Health Care Sharing Ministry (HCSM) expenses as eligible medical expenses for the Medical Savings Accounts (MSA). In Idaho, MSA’s allow Idahoans to receive tax deduction benefits for up to $10,000 of their health-related expenses that they pay using their Medical Savings Account. However, citizens are only allowed to use their MSA funds for eligible medical, vision, or dental expenses. H523, sponsored by Rep. Jordan Redman (3), looks to allow Idahoans to use their MSA for HCSM expenses. HCSMs contributions are not tax deductible because HCSMs’ contributing members have the possibility of using the shared funds for their own health expenses, even though HCSMs are non-profit organizations.

House Bill 523 passed the House floor on Wednesday, February 28, by a 55-12-3 vote. It will now be sent to the Senate Health and Welfare Committee.

Read H523

House Bill 578 – Prohibition of Religious Discrimination, Adoption and Foster Care

House Bill 578 prohibits religious discrimination for adoption and foster care stakeholders. This includes barring any religious discrimination by the state government against foster parents and people that advise, provide, or facilitate adoption or foster care services. The goal of H578 is to ensure that faith-based child placing agencies can continue to provide adoption and foster care services to help adoptive children and prospective families.

Sponsored by Rep. Megan Blanksma (8), H578 passed by the House on Wednesday, February 28, by a vote of 64-4-2 and has been sent to the Senate Health and Welfare Committee.

Read H578

House Bill 612 – Wolf Control Board, Livestock Compensation

House Bill 612 would allow the already existing Wolf Control Board to determine compensation for any livestock losses, specifically regarding wolves. Livestock producers must report their actual livestock losses from wolves to the board each year by December 31, and the board shall then determine the financial loss for payment based on available funding.

This legislation is co-sponsored by Rep. Judy Boyle (9) and passed the House floor 67-0-3 on Wednesday, February 28. H612 will now be sent to the Senate Resources and Environment Committee.

Read H612