With a looming deadline to introduce legislation, we’ve seen a flurry of activity in the fifth week of the legislative session.
Let Idahoans Vote
For decades, there has been a coordinated effort to put barriers in front of the ballot box across the United States. Now, Republican politicians are bringing these voter suppression schemes to Idaho.
Voter ID Restrictions
HB 54 eliminates student IDs and personal identification affidavits at the polls. Despite zero cases of fraud or misuse with alternative forms of identification, this overly burdensome photo ID law risks depriving otherwise eligible Idahoans of their right to vote.
Rollback of No-Excuse Absentee Ballots
HB 75 repeals our decades-old right to cast mail-in ballots without having to give a reason. No-excuse absentee voting has been in effect since 1970. It is a safe, secure and popular way to cast a ballot in Idaho. During the 2022 general election, 129,210 Idahoans made the decision to vote by mail, a majority of which were registered Republicans. This bill would make it harder for Idahoans — particularly people living in rural communities, the elderly, students, and people with disabilities — to exercise their fundamental right to cast a ballot.
Take a stand against voter suppression in Idaho. Click the button below to urge your state legislators to protect our voting rights and oppose House Bills 54 and 75.
Once Again, Idaho Democrats Made the Difference
Democrats saved workforce grants targeting in-demand careers on the House floor last week. A majority of Republicans voted against legislation to provide up to $8,5000 in grants to Idaho high school graduates enrolling in college or workforce training programs. It took every single House Democrat voting in support of the bill, which passed by just one vote.
Not only is this game-changing for students and industry, but it’s also proof that every election and every seat held by Idaho Democrats helps move our state forward.
Public Funds Belong in Public Schools
Our public schools are the centers of our communities. They must be well-funded and resourced to support safer communities and a stronger economy.
SB 1038 diverts public dollars away from public education and students to subsidize private and religious schools with ZERO oversight or accountability. Years of chronic underfunding have forced our public schools to slash budgets for teacher and support staff salaries, extracurriculars, career technical programs, and more. Many rural schools are operating on a four-day school week to cut costs and are struggling to hire certified teachers and classroom aids. A voucher program would only make these problems worse.
If you haven’t yet, send a message to your legislators urging them to oppose SB 1038.
How much would your public schools lose?
Save our Schools Idaho is a team of veteran public school champions dedicated to providing information about ESAs, vouchers, and similar policies aimed at dismantling our public schools.
They created a tool to see how much money ESA vouchers would funnel away from public schools in communities across Idaho. Click here to see the impact for yourself.
More Legislation to Watch
Gender-Affirming Care Ban
HB 71 bans gender-affirming care for trans youth in Idaho, including puberty blockers and hormone treatments. Doctors, nurses, or any provider who assists youth in obtaining gender-affirming prescriptions or care could be charged with a felony and up to 10 years in jail Like all children, trans youth have the best chance to thrive when they are supported and can get the care they need. This bill would criminalize that care.
Abortion Travel Ban
HB 98 expands Idaho’s human trafficking laws to prohibit adults from assisting minors in receiving abortion care. Introduced by Rep. Barbara Ehardt, this is a blatant attempt to further restrict the reproductive freedoms and bodily autonomy of Idahoans. Helping minors access healthcare is nothing like human trafficking. But under this law, supportive adults could be charged with a felony and up to 5 years in jail.
Ballot Initiative Restrictions
SJR 101 opens the door for a constitutional amendment to make Idaho’s ballot initiative process more difficult, confusing, and expensive. This proposed change is nearly identical to a 2021 law struck down by the Idaho Supreme Court for infringing upon a fundamental right, reserved to the people of Idaho. Now, Republicans in power want to rewrite the Idaho Constitution to take it away.
After hours of testimony, almost entirely against the resolution, Republicans on Senate State Affairs voted to send the resolution for amendments last week. We must remain vigilant and oppose all efforts to restrict the ballot initiative process.
👍 Rebalancing Property Taxes
HB 78 rebalances the property tax load for Idaho homeowners. The bill would reset the homeowner’s exemption to the level it would be at today if it hadn’t been capped in 2016, an increase from $125,000 to $224,000. It would also restore the exemption’s annual index, allowing it to adjust automatically as home prices change. This solution has been long championed by Rep. Lauren Necochea, a cosponsor.
👍 Transparent and Fair Rental Fees
SB 1039 ensures rental fees are transparent and fair. This bill would protect consumers and renters across Idaho while codifying best practices. It received a hearing in Senate Judiciary & Rules and was sent the amending order for a small clarification. Sen. Ali Rabe is the bill sponsor.
The Democratic Debrief
Hear from Idaho Democratic Party Chair and District 19 Representative Lauren Necochea in the latest installment of the weekly Democratic Debrief.
Together we can fight for a better Idaho. Stay tuned each week as we share new opportunities to add your voice and get involved.