Senator C. Scott Grow Newsletter - District 14

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Idaho State Legislture

February 7, 2020

Senator C. Scott Grow Newsletter - District 14

Dear Friends,


The effort to reduce property taxes continues!  I will cosponsor House Bill 353 if it comes to the Senate.  If passed, this bill would freeze the budgets of all taxing districts, except public schools, at 2019 levels for one year.  This pause in property tax increases could allow time for the Legislative Property Tax Working Group to formulate a long-range plan. As a member of that group, I am committed to finding a long-term solution.


This week the Governor invited me to a one-on-one meeting with him in his office.  During the 30-minute visit we discussed the following:

  • Education, because it is his highest priority and because I sit on the Joint Finance & Appropriations Committee which recommends funding for education.
  • Transportation, because four of the most congested highways in the state – Eagle Road (Highway 55), Chinden Boulevard (Highway 20/26), State Street (Highway 44), and Highway 16 – are in our legislative district.
  • Property taxes, because I am hearing from so many constituents regarding these ever-increasing taxes.

The Joint Finance & Appropriations Committee (JFAC) continues to receive reports and requests from each of the state departments and agencies. This week we heard from the Health & Welfare Department, which has a budget of nearly $3 billion. Fifty million dollars of that budget must be paid by the State of Idaho to fund its share of Medicaid expansion.


In his presentation to JFAC, the Director of the Idaho Transportation Department described the condition of our highways and bridges.  More than half of the bridges in the state are over 50 years old and need repair or replacement.


A highlight of the week was the Idaho Historical Society’s celebration of 100 years of women’s suffrage. In 1896 Idaho became the fourth state in the nation to grant voting rights to women. On February 11, 1920, Idaho ratified the Nineteenth Amendment to the US Constitution in a special session of the legislature. In this centennial year, the Idaho State Historical Society is highlighting Idaho’s role in this part of our nation’s history by putting on display originals of the important documents related to this event. These were displayed at the Capitol this week (see picture below with our current Lieutenant Governor and the female members of the senate), and can be seen online at I invite you to take a look at this important time in Idaho and American history.



C. Scott Grow



C. Scott Grow
Statehouse (208) 332-1334 (Session Only)


Local Government & Taxation – Vice Chair
Judiciary & Rules

Legislation cuts government “red tape” for nurse practitioners and patients


This week at the Capitol, the Senate passed Senate Bill 1240 (SB1240), which is legislation aimed to further Idaho’s commitment to reducing unnecessary regulation and improving the access and quality in health care for all Idahoans. There are a number of rural communities in Idaho which depend solely on the care of nurse practitioners for their primary health care needs. In 2004, Idaho was the first state in the nation to remove physician oversight and authorize nurse practitioners the ability to practice independently. Since this time, the number of nurse practitioners in Idaho has grown steadily.


In the Gem State, 1,700 nurse practitioners makes up 40 percent of the total primary care providers, offering high-quality and cost-effective health care throughout Idaho. Floor sponsor Senator Mary Souza stated, “This bill will aid in meeting the demands of our growing population and primary care provider shortage while improving access to health care for Idahoans.” SB1240 eliminates barriers for nurse practitioners to assist their patients in completing necessary routine health care paperwork without requiring a physician’s signature. Click here for more information on SB1240.

Mental Health Courts

Representatives from the Idaho Judiciary presented a report on Idaho’s Mental Health Courts this week in the Senate Judiciary and Rules Committee. An estimated 6 percent of Idahoans live with mental illness and often this condition—or lack of treatment—leads to actions that violate Idaho law.  Mental Health Courts have been successful in helping and preventing unnecessary incarcerations of those struggling with mental illness. Responsibilities include hearing criminal cases for nonviolent offenders suffering with mental illness and substance abuse problems. The aim of the Mental Health Courts is to treat the mental illness contributing to the cause of the criminal behavior by the offender. With the goal to reduce recidivism of mentally ill offenders in the criminal justice system, Mental Health Courts aim to achieve this by:


1. Supporting participants in achieving and maintaining stability with respect to their mental illness,

2. Supporting participants in achieving sobriety and helping them gain the tools necessary to maintain long-term sobriety; and

3. Helping to transform criminal thinking into pro-social thinking that encourages participants to make better choices about their actions.

INL Day at the Capitol Rotunda


Idaho Legislators joined the Idaho National Laboratory (INL) exhibitors in the Capitol rotunda to celebrate nuclear energy research and innovation in Idaho.  Known around the country as the nation’s premier national research laboratory, INL is the 9th largest employer in Idaho with 4,724 employees. INL boasts a total economic impact of $2.64 billion nationwide.


In 1949, the Atomic Energy Commission chose the eastern Snake River Plain as its location for the National Reactor Testing Station (NRTS) with the mission of understanding how to harness the power of the atom for peaceful purposes. 


In 2017, President Trump signed a bill to authorize the Nuclear Energy Innovation Capabilities Act, a program enabling the testing and demonstration of reactor concepts to be proposed and funded by the private sector. The goal of the resulting National Reactor Innovation Center (NRIC) in Idaho is to increase practical knowledge relevant to safety, security, resilience, and functionality of advanced nuclear reactor concepts. 


INL has strong ties to Idaho universities and works collaboratively with Idaho State University, Boise State University, and University of Idaho.  Under the Center for Advanced Energy Studies (CAES), these collaborative efforts emphasize research, education, and innovation. Today, the INL plays an important part in Idaho’s economy and promotes Idaho as a leader in advanced technology research and product development.


Property Tax Basics

Property Tax is generated and used locally, and it is levied on real and business personal property. The first $100,000 of personal property is exempt per company by county. Homeowners receive a $100,000 exemption, and all property is assessed annually.


Taxes Collected

Total property tax collected by local units of government in Idaho for 2019 totaled $2.035 billion. Currently, Idaho is ranked 42nd in per capita property tax burden.


Idaho Property Value

Current market value of property in Idaho is $249.6 billion. The “net taxable value” is the value used in the levy rate calculation for determining tax amounts. The net taxable value of property in Idaho went from $153.2 billion in 2018 to $175.3 billion in 2019. Owner occupied residential property makes up the largest share of property value in Idaho at 45.2 percent (2018).

Legislation at a glance

The following legislation may be of interest to you. Click here to stay updated on the complete list of bills, resolutions, proclamations, and memorials.


H0308 This legislation prevents local authorities from implementing ordinances that prohibit or restrict the use of handheld wireless devices while driving and eliminates any such locally imposed regulation as of July 1, 2020.


H0315 The Idaho Board of Pharmacy administers the regulatory provisions of the state's Uniform Controlled Substances Act. If any substance is designated, rescheduled, or deleted as a controlled substance under federal law and notice thereof is given to the Board, the Board shall similarly control the substance unless the Board objects to the inclusion, rescheduling, or deletion.


H0317 Consistent with the Governor's Licensing Freedom Act, this proposed legislation aims to implement a 2018 recommendation to organize the "Optometric Physician Licensing Act" in a manner consistent with the way legislation for regulated professions and occupations is written today.


H0325 This legislation increases the distribution to the Transportation Expansion and Congestion Mitigation program from 1% of sales tax collections to 2% of sales tax collections.


H0337 This legislation restores the power of local government to establish an increased minimum wage should it elect to do so.


H0339 The purpose of this legislation is to make a correction to the Physical Therapy Practice Act by allowing the Idaho Physical Therapy Licensure Board to approve the required courses for a physical therapist to practice dry needling.


H0341 This legislation prohibits the practice of surprise medical billing, which occurs when a consumer receives care at an in-network hospital but is unknowingly billed for charges, beyond what is covered by insurance, by an out-of-network provider.


H0342 This legislation is offered in hopes to encourage and enable innovation in healthcare technology and offer greater access to quality care for Idahoans. It removes unnecessary and artificial statutory barriers and clarifies terms.


H0352 This legislation would increase the grocery tax credit from $120 to $135 per person for individuals age 65 and older and from $100 to $135 per person for all others. The average individual pays approximately $125 per year in sales tax on groceries. This change will essentially offset the sales tax paid on groceries by all Idaho citizens.


H0359 Legislation regarding sales tax exemption. This legislation would eliminate all property taxes in the state and simultaneously replace the lost revenue from said property taxes with increased collections of sales taxes. The sales tax rate will be increased from 6% to 11%.


S1222 Legislation on controlled substances. This legislation would decriminalize the unlawful use of controlled substances in private places, and repeal the current prohibition on civil commitments for drug abuse.


S1223 Legislation on imported food, bread, and flour. Consistent with the Red Tape Reduction Act, this bill seeks to eliminate obsolete and unnecessary restrictions. Specifically, the Idaho State Department of Agriculture (ISDA) proposes repealing Title 37, Chapter 16 which governs labeling of some imported food products, and Title 37, Chapter 26 which governs the enrichment of bread and flour. The ISDA seeks to remove excessive and burdensome regulations imposed on Idaho's businesses. The chapters proposed for repeal have been superseded by federal standards.


S1241 Legislation on hemp and controlled substances. This legislation amends sections of Title 37, including the Schedule 1, to revise a definition, define a term, provide an exception for hemp containing .3 percent or less of tetrahydrocannabinols (THC) to conform with federal law.


S1250 Legislation on distracted driving. The purpose of this legislation is to treat the use of certain electronic devices behind-the-wheel as an infraction. The bill addresses safety concerns associated with a significant portion of distracted driving crashes.