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A bill is a proposal for the enactment, amendment or repeal of an existing law, or for the appropriation of public money. A bill may originate in either the House or Senate, with the exception of revenue measures, which originate in the House of Representatives. It must be passed by a majority vote of each house of the Legislature and be signed into law by the governor. If the governor vetoes a bill, it can become law if passed again by a two-thirds majority of those present in each house. A bill can also become law without thegGovernor's signature if it is not vetoed within five days (Sundays excepted) after presentation to the governor. After the Legislature adjourns "sine die," the governor has 10 days to veto or sign a bill.
(The Sine Die summary of the previous legislative session, in PDF format, is here:
Before the final vote on a bill, it must be read on three separate days in each house. Two-thirds of the members of the house where the bill is pending may vote to dispense with this provision.
A member, a group of members or a standing committee may introduce a bill. After the 20th day of the session in the House and the 12th day in the Senate, bills may be introduced only by committee. After the 35th day, bills may be introduced only by certain committees. In the House: State Affairs, Appropriations, Education, Revenue and Taxation, and Ways and Means Committee. In the Senate: State Affairs, Finance, and Judiciary and Rules.
The original bill and 15 copies are presented to the Chief Clerk who assigns the bill a number. The bill is then introduced by being read on the Order of Business "Introduction and First Reading of Bills." Bills that have been passed by the other house are received and placed on the same Order of Business and treated in the same manner as new bills.
The bill is read the first time and is then referred by the Speaker of the House to the Judiciary, Rules and Administration Committee for printing. After the bill is printed, it is reported back and referred to a standing committee by the Speaker.
Reports of Standing Committees
Each committee to which a bill is referred conducts a study
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The Idaho Legislature formally concluded its 2015 session in the predawn chill of April 11. As a result of 90 days of wrangling, some in closed caucus, the Gem State now has its 15th state symbol, the Idaho Giant Salamander, thanks to the five-year-long persistence of 14-year-old Ilah Hickman of Boise.
Even that decision, on the first bill to actually be heard in the session, and despite a completely different set of priorities outlined by Gov. Butch Otter in his opening “State of the State” address, did not come easily. The House State Affairs Committee had initially killed the bill with a 10-6 vote, then reversed itself upon realizing that a legislative body that had time to pass a resolution designating “National Diaper Need Awareness Week” ought to have time for the Giant Salamander.
The Giant Salamander thus stands beside the Mountain Bluebird and the Wild Huckleberry as Idaho symbols, after five years of effort. Other arguably more significant achievements, however, are about as elusive as the amphibian. The same committee had earlier ended a nine-year embargo on discussion of HB-2, the “Add the Words” bill to include sexual orientation and gender identity to the state’s 1969 Human Rights Act. The committee heard more than 22 hours of testimony over three days from 200 people — 134 in favor, 54 against, and two neutral –- before a 13-4 party-line vote that blocked the bill from going to a full vote on the House floor.
Majority lawmakers touted as an achievement the adoption of a $125.5 million, five-year “career ladder” salary structure for teachers that would set a starting salary of $32,700, a 2.9 percent increase from $31,750. Teachers with more than three years of experience, will see their pay rise to $50,000 a year, from $42,500.The legislation also provides for annual raises in each of the next five years – if money is available. The Legislature increased per-classroom operational spending to $23,868 a year from $22,401 although this is still behind 2008-09 levels of $25,696. Despite some claims the education package represented a “big raise” for teachers, Idaho remains dead last among the 50 states and District of Columbia in per-student spending for education.
The last roadblock to concluding the 90th Legislative session was a compromise infrastructure-spending package that will provide $94.1 million for road and bridge maintenance. Idaho Transportation Director Brian Ness told lawmakers in February that the state needs $262 million "just to preserve the system in the condition it's in." Ultimately, Ness said, "transportation in Idaho is underfunded by $543 million annually."
What was attained is to be paid for by $63.2 million from a 7-cent increase in the state’s 25-cent-per-gallon gasoline tax – the first gasoline tax increase since 1996 -- to 32 cents a gallon, and $26.8 million from increased vehicle registration fees, without raising fees on extra-heavy trucks.
Although the session went two weeks longer than many lawmakers had hoped, to become one of the five longest in state history – the longest was the 119-day session of 2009 – it did not address hoped-for Medicaid redesign, which would have provided health care coverage for more than 100,000 Idahoans who don’t qualify for either Medicaid or subsidized health insurance on the state exchange. It did impose a ban on use of telemedicine consultation to prescribe RU-486 chemical abortion and instead introduced a requirement for an in-person doctor’s consultation.
Among other session highlights are these:
Concealed-carry advocates lost a bid to do away with any firearm permit requirements, although there is no change in the ability to carry a concealed weapon outside of cities,
and elected officials can still carry guns without a permit.
The law against bullying in schools was strengthened to require training for school staffers and require intervention to stop bullying.
A modest bill to provide a legal defense for parents and guardians of children subject to extreme epileptic seizures that could benefit from use of cannabis oil cleared both houses but awaits Otter’s signature. Previously, Idaho doctors could not discuss use of the treatment.
Funding was approved for a second mental health crisis center, in northern Idaho.
Uber, the commercial ride-sharing service, won legislative approval to operate, overriding municipal restrictions.
Candidates for school board seats will have to file campaign finance disclosure documents in districts with 500 or more students.
High school students in the Class of 2017 will be required to pass a civics test similar to that required of immigrants applying for citizenship to receive their diplomas.
The state will actively promote school and industry cooperation to support STEM education programs in science, technology, engineering and math.
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