Week 12 Legislative Update

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April 17, 2021

Rep. Priscilla Giddings - District 7


Going into this week, the general expectation at the statehouse was that the 2021 legislative session would be wrapping up this week. At the end of this week, it looks like the session may drag on for another couple of weeks.


The House voted to rework a K-12 teacher's salary budget. It is one of five bills that includes millions of dollars for the promotion of critical race theory and 1619 Project curriculum. During floor debate I shared an example of a Boise elementary school bulletin board (shown below) in which the teacher supported disparaging comments about early American explorers. My debate is linked here. The house agreed to include intent language in the budget bill to ensure that no funds may be used to advocate for critical theory. After lots of discussions and many late nights, new policy language was developed and should make its way forward next week. The liberal media held up the the defeated education budget as an example of how terrible conservative republicans are, but the public debate has brought many examples of this insidious, subtle attack against American values to light. Patriotic Americans must not underestimate the significance of these attacks, and we in Idaho need to keep fighting for policy that leads Idaho's education system away from Marxist teachings.


Governor Little vetoed H135 and S1136 (the two bills that would rein in his executive overreach during emergencies). The House and Senate will attempt to override these vetoes early next week.



“My daughter has been indoctrinated at Boise State. 

She wore Marx's name on her graduation cap (I was so thankful my father, who served in the military, was unable to attend!) She is now transitioning, changed her name legally, and has even changed her birth certificate (who in the world made that legal in Idaho?)  Please keep working to get this out of our schools from K-higher education!  The grief is unspeakable. Please spare other Idaho parents this outcome. Thank you for your fight in this area.”

~Concerned Mom


The GOOD -- The BAD -- The UGLY

+ GOOD: A property tax relief bill has finally emerged. This legislation would remove the cap placed on the homeowner's exemption and allow the homeowner’s exemption to be related to changes in value. The exemption will be increased by 50% of the median sales price as determined by the annual improved residential ratio study conducted by the Idaho State Tax Commission. This will help residential property owners but will increase property taxes for agricultural and industrial property. The real key to across-the-board property tax relief is for the government to stop spending so much money.


- BAD: House and Senate leadership stole Senator Zito's Small Arms Protection Act H300; they are now promoting it as their own, in a slightly edited version, S1205. The (senate) pro tem publicly stated that it was Senator Zito's bill, but Senators Lakey and Lodge put their names on the new version and made Senator Zito ask to include her name on the co-sponsors list. The same thing happened in the House. I was the floor sponsor for H300; house leadership put Rep. Boyle's name on the new bill so any positive headlines show their names as the proponents. This is a disgusting example of how the establishment operates to bolster their own platforms and undermine their conservative adversaries. Senator Lakey will present S1205 on Monday, and it should pass through both chambers quickly. This a rare case when the typical swamp tactics will end up being good for gun owners in the long run. Many thanks to Senator Zito, Greg Pruett and the 2nd Amendment Alliance and the thousands of gunowners who made this happen!


--UGLY: House leadership filed an ethics complaint on behalf of a legislative volunteer against conservative District 6 Representative Von Ehlinger. The allegations are straight out of the liberal play book; they are a blatant liberal smear job. An adult, single mother claimed that Von Ehlinger forced her to (perform fellatio) after a dinner date. Prior to the House ethics complaint, the Boise police had reportedly dropped their investigation of her complaint, and Von Ehlinger subsequently passed a lie detector test with flying colors.

Now, to add insult to the people of Idaho to the injury to Von Ehlinger, House leadership is using taxpayer funds to publicly embarrass Rep von Ehlinger, while he is forced to fork over thousands of his own dollars to defend his reputation. Ultimately the house will vote on whether to reprimand him or drop it - since there are no criminal charges it will be a schoolyard popularity contest. Bad on Von Ehlinger for falling for a honey trap, but he’s a single man, and that aspect of his personal life is really none of the rest of the legislature’s business. Far worse on House leadership for jumping on the liberal band wagon and using the flimsiest of pretexts to smear one of their own who has the courage to stand against leadership positions he disagrees with. Read the report in this article.

In an utterly reprehensible move, House Leadership has made the issue a trial in the court of public opinion, reminiscent of so many national “Me too” witch hunts. Has this smear campaign tactic become so mainstream that Idaho politicians will be endlessly dragged through the wringer any time they disagree with the policies dictated by the good ol’ boys?  

Facts I've Learned:

* Idaho is home to 2.49 million cows.


* In FY20 29,699,863 resident and anadromous fish were released.


* In FY20 65,761 deer & elk were harvested.


Budget Bummers

We all know that money has influence; even more so in state government. During session I will track the money and keep you informed about budget concerns. This week:


JFAC approved $40,301,500 of federal relief (ARPA) to be used to recruit school districts to implement COVID-19 testing programs. The final guidance has not been set but Health & Welfare officials “don't think” the testing will be compulsory. Positive test results will be shared with local public health districts and school officials.  


$ JFAC approved a $1,726,100 additional appropriation to enable the Idaho State Police to perform full-time capitol security with 12 troopers. The 12 officers will be pulled away from their home duty stations, ultimately reducing state-wide coverage. It is also important to note that the legislature will be out of session while the troopers are providing this extra capitol security.  


$ JFAC approved $10,151,200 to support mobile vaccination efforts. Many thanks to Representative Ferch (a chiropractor from District 21) who provided Representative Nate and me intent language to insert into this appropriation request. While I don't support the use of federal taxpayer money to advocate for the shot, it was a small victory for fiscal conservatives to include these restrictions:


1. Any promotion of the administration of vaccines or vaccine-like products using (ARPA) funds shall include proper informed consent language. Such language shall be similar to that required by the Federal Drug Administration in all direct-to-consumer full product promotions. (i.e. “The COVID vaccines are authorized for emergency use only, as they have NOT been tested in long-term studies for effectiveness or safety.”)


2. For any (ARPA) funds expended for the promotion of vaccines or vaccine-like products, an equal amount of funds may be expended on the promotion of health education, including but not limited to exercise and fitness, consumption of Vitamin D supplementation, and a reduction in non-nutritional foods such as high-fructose corn syrup. Notwithstanding this intent language, no General Fund dollars may be expended to support this language.