Idaho Legislative Update-Rep. Heather Scott

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Idaho State Legislture

January 27, 2019        

Representative Heather Scott - District 1


Many citizens visit the Capitol daily to share information.  Last week STEM students showed off their works!

Greetings from the Capitol.  We are beginning our 4th week of the 2019 legislative session and the administrative rules process is nearly complete.  The rules we are reviewing are the proposed rules written by the Executive branch of government throughout the summer and fall when the Legislature is not in session.  These are the same rules that I continually encourage you to get involved in and provide comments for or against.  It is no surprise how government constantly creeps into our lives when the Executive branch and the bureaucrats have nine months to draft volumes of new laws, rule and regulations.  The Legislature gets a mere 3-4 weeks to attempt to review, decipher, understand, debate and finally vote on all these proposed rules. In my opinion, things appear pretty lopsided in favor of the government, not the governed.


Thousands of pages of rules have been presented to legislators with brief summaries and citizen comments included - in support or opposition.  No opposition, or a lack of comments from the public, is generally viewed as "support" by the bureaucrats, which is a poor way for a republic to function.  Apathy replacing action can only lead to loss of sovereignty and individual freedoms. The committees are the last real opportunity to reject or approve the administrative rules.  Once approved, these rules have the full force of law.  If one legislative body (House or Senate) committee rejects a rule, it can be moved to the other body, approved and becomes law.  Government 101: It takes two legislative bodies to reject a rule but only one to approve it.  The legislature is currently looking into language to change this procedure which I believe is long overdue.   


Good Rules / Bad Rules

There are certain bureaucracies working to reduce rules and regulations to streamline processes.  The Bureau of Occupational Licensing has proposed many good rules this session to reduce restrictions to entry into the free market and to reduce burdensome regulations on businesses.  Many of these changes have been a direct result of citizen input and involvement.  Thank you to both the agency for listening and the citizens for input!


Other agencies continually seem to grow into bloated bureaucracies and assault the Idaho citizenry.  I personally believe the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare (DHW) and the Idaho State Board of Education are out of control and continue to interfere with local control and parental choice.  Two disturbing rules that were assigned to the Health and Welfare Committee from the DHW include: 

  1. A rule to mandate Meningococcal (MenACWY) vaccinations to high school seniors-even if they are over 18.  
  2. A rule to allow transgender residents to change their birth certificate.

Both of these rules are actively being fought by liberty legislators but we need citizens vocalizing their disapproval every day we are in session.  Unfortunately, the 2nd rule will not even be heard or debated in committee (Chairman’s choice) but just allowed to slip into law.  This does little to ensure the stability of our republic and is counterproductive to the system of checks and balances put into place by our Founding Fathers.  


Legislation and the Bill Process

Over 80 bills have been introduced in the first 3 weeks.   This number will likely double by the beginning of February.  As a refresher; here are the steps of the legislative bill development process:

  • DRAFT: This is when a bill idea is in its initial draft form and when the proposed language can be changed or improved upon. 
  • RS (Routing Slip): This stage occurs after the language is finalized by the sponsoring legislator and it is ready to be introduced to a committee.  Once introduced into a committee, that committee can either vote YES-to assign it a bill number or NO-this bill will not be heard this session.  This vote usually occurs after some discussion among committee members 
  • Bill: Once assigned a bill number, the bill can be scheduled for a committee hearing.  If the committee majority votes “YES”, the bill will be presented to the entire body of the House for a “floor” vote.  If the committee majority votes “NO”, the bill will likely not advance through the system during that session.  

If a bill passes through a committee and passes the House floor vote, it will next head to the Senate and receive the same process, although it does not get a hearing to get a bill number. 

Below is a list of Bills, Drafts and RSs that may interest you:

Idaho Abortion Human Rights Act:  Representative John Green and myself have released a Draft of our Abortion Human Rights bill last week.  This bill would end abortion in Idaho.  You can read more about the draft legislation by visiting my Facebook site: Representative Heather Scott.   Or click here: Abortion Human Rights Act


Marsy’s law:  This is a constitutional change being proposed by a California billionaire (Marsy’s Law Founder) whose questionable reputation was really marred after being arrested on drug trafficking charges this past summer in Las Vegas.  While billions of his dollars may buy lots of advertising, lobbyists and influence, I am hopeful that it cannot buy a change to our Idaho Constitution that could bankrupt rural counties through serial litigation.  It has failed in the past and let’s hope it fails again. This bill will likely be introduced in early February.   


Article 5 Convention:  While the Republican central committees from across the state continue to say no to an Article 5 Convention, there is rumor around the Capitol that it will be re-introduced again this year. 


Medicaid Expansion Funding:  Many argue that expanding Medicaid is the pathway to socialized medicine, while others claim it is a humane governmental policy.  Currently this proposed law is being challenged in the Idaho Supreme Court.  This issue will be heavily debated by the Legislature throughout the next two months. The biggest question is where will Idaho get the money to pay for this expansion?  Many continue to broadcast how important the public schools are but gloss over the fact that their ravenous appetite currently consumes  over 46% of our state budget.  The bottom line is eventually we will have to make some hard choices on if and how Medicaid expansion can be funded because there is a limited pot of tax payer provided funds for all of the state programs.   


Budget Bills:  All budgeting for legislation comes through the Joint Finance and Appropriations Committee (JFAC).  By the time most legislators get to vote on the final appropriation package, it is in an all-or -nothing simplified bill on the House floor.  Unfortunately, this process has not allowed agency policies to be reviewed in detail, only their spending.  This year is the first year in five years that committees have been given a glimpse of what is being proposed for the appropriation and a glimpse of these policies.  While this is not enough, it is a step in the right direction.  Hopefully this process continues to expand in the future to educate legislators and citizens and to help rein in out-of-control unchecked spending by agencies. 


Gun Rights/Red Flag Laws: There is a draft gun bill to expand constitutional carry in our state sponsored by Rep. Christy Zito that should be introduced soon.  I am a co-signer on this bill.  There has been much buzz about Red Flag Laws (laws which remove guns from citizens without due process).  I will vote against any bill that attempts to infringe on our right to bear arms, regardless of how well the intentions of the bill may be.  


Please stay tuned for updates on the progress of upcoming bills.


Please visit the Growing Freedom Idaho website designed to help all citizens be more involved with what is going on in the Idaho Legislature and to more effectively make their voices heard.  The site includes a simple review of all the proposed bills and what committees they are sitting in.  There is a way to contact House members in the various committees and let them know your thoughts on the bills. You can enter bill ideas, share your concerns, or enter suspected government corruption or fraud tips. There is also a tab titled “It’s Your Money” where you can see how your tax dollar are being spent by the various agencies.  The web address is: