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October 17, 2011

This article ran in the Idaho Statesman this morning in the opinion section discussing local option taxing authority. Click here to read the article on the Idaho Statesman. If you are unable to access the link, the print version is available here.

October 4, 2011

This afternoon the Healthcare Task Force met at the state capital to discuss budgets and the state insurance exchange. The task force also heard from the Idaho Chamber Alliance (ICA) and the Idaho Association of Commerce and Industry (IACI) regarding the health insurance exchange. The following were the main questions that were asked of the industry representatives:

  1. What is your stance on the idea of exchanges?
  2. Do you favor a state or federal exchange and why?
  3. What provisions are important in a state exchange?
  4. What should Idaho avoid?

IACI stood before the task force to begin the discussion, stating that they support the creation of an Idaho based insurance exchange which would provide a mechanism of different coverage levels for individuals and entities. With the creation of a state exchange would be setting up a system that best fits Idaho while being transparent and easy to use.

The ICA then spoke to the committee with Ray Stark representing the ICA. The ICA supports enabling legislation during the 2012 legislative session for a state insurance exchange. The ICA also support the idea of a one-stop shop which would be simple for consumers, with the requirement for packaging and pricing at the forefront providing choice and flexibility. The ICA also supports the efforts to maintain the system of independent insurance brokers, while including preventative care options for business, not just catastrophic care. Idaho should avoid having a computer operated front end to the exchange; human interaction would be key to the simplicity and success of the state exchange.

Health Care Task Force Agenda (PDF)

April 14, 2011

Yesterday just before the noon hour, Governor Otter signed into law HB297aa,aaS, the jobs bills or the Hire One Act. This bill would provide hiring incentive for Idaho employers to hire a new employee by providing a credit that would vary from 2 to 6% of the new worker's wages, and the credit would also be based on the employer's rating with the state. This will be good for the state of the Idaho in helping some of those 74,000 Idahoans that are currently unemployed. Below are a few pictures from the bill signing.

April 8, 2011

A media advisory has been sent from the Governor's office stating that the signing of the "Hire One Act", HB297aa,aaS will be held on Wednesday April 13th at 11:30am on the 2nd floor of the capital.

April 7, 2011 -- Sine Die

Today, both houses met to work through additional appropriation bills that were on the second and third reading calendars. The Senate was the first to sine die, closing out the 2011 session just after the noon hour.

The House continued following a recess for lunch, and came back to pass the public schools appropriation bills along with the passage of HB297aa,aaS, the "Hire One Act" with a vote of 62-5!

Following the passage of a few additional bills on the suspension calendar, the House then adjourned sine die just after 2:00pm to close out the 2011 legislative session for the House of Representatives.

This will be the final post for the 2011 legislative session.

April 6, 2011

This morning, one of the few committees that actually held a meeting was the House Education Committee discussing a piece of legislation that would remove the cap on Charter Schools. Following this hearing the House and Senate both met on the floor shortly after 9:30am to work through the few remaining bills, with both houses looking to sine die tomorrow at some point. There are a few other appropriation bills that are moving from the Senate to the House for final consideration, which are important deciding factors as to when legislators will close out the 2011 session.

The House concurred with the amendments that were made in the Senate yesterday on HB297aa,aaS, for final passage of the Hire One Act. The bill will now be sent for the signature of the Governor.

April 5, 2011

This morning, HB297aa,aaS was read across the desk on the second reading calendar in the Senate and will now be sent to the third reading calendar. As mentioned at the bottom of yesterday's report, HB297aa,aaS went through the 14th order and will be back before the Senate. This is a call to action for all chambers to contact their local Senators personally to urge support for the Jobs Bill. Please take action on this item today as the bill continues to move forward.

Update on the Hire One Act:As is typical of the House and Senate late in the legislative session, the process moves quickly as the Senate was briefly at ease and then heard bills that were just read through the second reading calendar. The second bill to be discussed is HB297aa,aaS. The Senate suspended the rules to hear HB297aa,aaS, and the bill was presented on the floor by Senator McGee. The bill was presented as "The Gentleman on the Second Floor's Jobs Bill", as was stated that job creation is a high priority. The Idaho Chamber Alliance was mentioned ont the Senate floor as part of the group that worked with the Governor on this piece of legislation. The debate did not last long, with only Senator Stegner standing to discuss some pros and some cons in the bill in his opinion. Senator McGee then closed the debate, and pointed out that the state would benefit from a new hire and also pointed out that there has been $202 million borrowed from the federal government for unemployment benefits, and this bill is a good bill. Senator McGee mentioned again that the Idaho Chamber Alliance is in support of this legislation, and urged the yes vote of other members of the Senate.

The Hire One Act passed the Senate with a 30-5 vote, and will be returned to the House.

Additionally, in the House Ways and Means Committee a new RS was introduced by Representative Hagedorn looking to reduce income tax. It is understood that the small business rate for Idaho is 7.8%, and the large business rate is 7.6% and this RS would reduce to 5% over a 7 year period beginning in fiscal year 2013. There is also a revenue trigger within the RS that would put the process on hold by 1% if the economy happens to decline. Also, the effect of this RS would be a $402 million rolling impact at fiscal year 2013. Chambers mentioned numerous times as a group that they can study it and determine the business impact. The motion was to print and hold the RS with no hearing, but to allow for discussion and study over the summer. The motion passed through the House Ways and Means Committee with a 4-3 roll call vote.

April 4, 2011

Action Item: As mentioned at the bottom of today's report, HB297aa,aaS went through the 14th order and will be back before the Senate. This is a call to action for all chambers to contact their local Senators personally to urge support for the Jobs Bill. Please take action on this item this evening if at all possible.

This morning the Senate State Affairs Committee approved RS20738 for print. This RS dealing with providing guidance to the Idaho Public Utilities Commission regarding implementation of the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA) regarding wind and solar energy resources. This RS is being brought forward following HB337 being sent to the Senate, and would essentially replace HB337 splitting the contents of that legislation into two pieces due to concern of two different issues being address in one bill. Currently, HB337 has not been held nor is it schedule for a hearing. The new RS will be printed, and there may be a new RS sent to the House Revenue and Taxation Committee dealing with the tax portion of the previous bill as tax issues must begin on the House side.

Additionally in the Senate State Affairs Committee, an new RS was printed that would continue the discussion regarding the final $140 million in possible GARVEE bonding authority. This RS will not move any further this session, but this will start the discussion as to whether this bonding should be used, and if it is in fact used then what projects it should be used on.

This morning on the House floor, HB95aa,aaS was at the top of the third reading calendar. It was asked by the floor sponsor, Representative Moyle to cease reading of the bill with the objection from the minority party similar to the actions seen last week in the House. The minority party initially asked that the 18 page bill be read at length, however after a few minutes of reading Representative Rusche stood and made a statement that it would be in the best interest to close out the session as quickly as possible and to return home. Representative Moyle discussed this bill on the floor reiterating the amendments to the full House. There was short debate on the floor, and the bill passed the House with a vote of 64-6.

The new jobs bill, HB297, was up on the 14th Order this morning, and discussed on the floor by Senator McGee. This amendment would change the definition of a new employee to any 9 months of the year, and would also change the retroactive date of the bill. There was no opposition to the amendments and was accepted by the committee of the whole Senate. The bill was reported out of the committee of the whole, and will be back before the full Senate at a later date.

April 1, 2011

This morning the House Revenue and Taxation Committee did not meet, and the majority of the morning was focused on SB1184 in the House of Representatives. At the objection of the minority party in the House, SB1184 was read at length which took about one hour. Following the reading of the bill, the debate lasted for the majority of the morning session. The bill ended up passing the House with a vote of 44-26 and will now be sent to the Governor for signature into law.

Legislators had previously thought that they may be working late on Friday, and possibly over the weekend. However, with all of the bills that are currently being read at length in the House they will be coming back next week and adjourned at 12:00pm to convene again on Monday the 4th.

March 31, 2011

Right at the noon hour, the House discussed and debated HB337 which is the new public utilities bill dealing with the sales tax rebate for renewable energy, and PURPA. This legislation extends the sunset date of July 1, 2011 to December 31, 2014 providing that the taxpayer obtain by October 31, 2011 a power purchase agreement between a utility and the taxpayer for the sale of electricity generated from a wind or solar qualifying facility. This bill passed the House with a vote of 41-25, and will now be sent to the Senate.

"Hire One Act" Passes in Senate Committee:This afternoon, the Senate Local Government Committee held a hearing on the Jobs Bill, HB297. The committee was short on time as the Senate was scheduled to go on the floor at 3:00pm, however they did hear from The Idaho Department of Commerce and the Idaho Department of Labor to discuss the legislation. The committee also heard testimony from Matt Hunter having driven up from Pocatello. Mr. Hunter stood in support of the legislation stating that job creation was a top priority, and that the credit within HB297 goes on the "list of pros" to help a business make the decision to hire an additional employee.

Following the closing statements from Mark Warbis of the Office of the Governor, Chairman Stegner stated possible amendments that could be made to the bill being a change from 9 consecutive months within a calendar year to 9 consecutive months to allow hiring in all months rather than just the first 3 months of the year. The other possible amendment mentioned was making the new law active upon the signature of the Governor, rather than making it retroactive to January 1, 2011.

As a reminder, Senate Committee typically do not provide committee amendments or suggestions to the full Senate. Senator McGee made the motion to send HB297 to the 14th order for possible amendments which passed with a voice vote. Senator McGee will carry this bill on the Senate floor and will also look to put pen to paper on the suggested amendments as mentioned, for consideration in the amending order.

March 30, 2011

The House Revenue and Taxation Committee met again this morning to discuss the issue of renewable energy rebates and PURPA agreements. The committee was first addressed by a representative from the Public Utilities Commission to answer questions from the committee. Next, the committee discussed an additional RS on renewable energy rebates, RS20716. This bill would make a change in language to HB321 which could have resulted in confusion to those entities affected. Also, without this change in the language it could have affected other renewable resources other than wind and solar energy. Representative Eskridge presented the new RS, and it was debated for the majority of the hearing.

The original motion was to approve the RS for print and move it directly to the 2nd reading calendar. A substitute motion was made which would have printed the RS and moved it directly to general orders for possible amendment. The substitute motion failed with a vote of 4-13, with the original motion passing on a roll call vote of 12-5. Following the passage of the new RS, both HB321 and HB322 dealing with renewable energy rebates were held in committee.

Also, HB95aa,aaS was back before the House this morning for approval of the amendments that were made in the Senate. Representative Moyle stood before the House and asked unanimous consent that the amendments made in the Senate be adopted by the House, which was approved and the bill will move to the House Judiciary and Rules Committee for engrossing.

Update: HB285, the $162 million GARVEE Bond, has now passed both the House and the Senate.  Half of the bond will be used for the State Highway 16 connection from State Street to Chinden and will be the beginning of a new north-south “Central Valley Highway.”  The bill now goes to the Governor for his signature.

Update:  Tomororow, the Senate Local Government committee will hold a hearing on HB297 tentatively at 2:00pm.  Those members of the Idaho Chamber Alliance living in Lewiston, Rexburg, Nampa, Mountain Home, Caldwell, Coeur d' Alene, Boise and Pocatello have Senators on this committee.  Please take the time to make contact with your Senators prior to the hearing tomorrow afternoon.

March 29, 2011

This morning the House Revenue and Taxation Committee did not hold a hearing. Most of the focus this morning on the House side was on SB1184, the third piece of the education reform plan brought forward by Superintendent Tom Luna. This bill was presented in the House Education Committee prior to the House convening on the floor at 10:30am. After roughly 4 hours of discussion, debate and testimony from all of the stakeholders that testified in the Senate Education Committee the bill passed the House Education Committee with a vote of 12-6 and will now be sent to the first reading calendar in the House with a do pass recommendation.

On the Senate floor this morning, and on the 3rd reading calendar was HB95aa,aaS dealing with Urban Renewal. Just last week, this bill went through the 14th order and received a number of amendments (click here to see amendments). The bill was presented on the floor by Senator Hammond, and he went through the amendments that have been made to the bill. There was a few minutes of debate on this bill, with the issue of transparency being discussed and also additional "sideboards" for urban renewal districts. This bill passed the Senate with a 35-0 vote by using the roll call vote from a previous bills, and will now be sent back across the rotunda to the House for their consideration of the Senate amendments.

Both houses will continue to work through their 3rd reading calendars, and will start to work on a compressed calendar meaning that afternoon committees will have shorter meeting times allowing additional floor time in the afternoon.

March 28, 2011

The House Revenue and Taxation Committee met this morning to hear two RS dealing with renewable energy rebates, which were the two trailer bills to HB250 which was held in committee last week. The first was RS20698, dealing specifically with the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA). This bill would place a provision that in order to receive the renewable energy rebate, the contract for the project must be in place by October of 2011. The chairman mentioned that the issue at hand had already had a public hearing and that he would entertain a motion to print and sent the RS to the floor with a do pass recommendation, however there were objections from the committee and the RS will be printed and brought back for further discussion.

The second was RS20704, dealing again with the renewable energy rebates. This RS is very similar to HB250 but doesn't deal with PURPA. Also, this RS would deal with all renewable energy sources except for wind and solar projects. Representative Roberts, who was presenting this bill mentioned that wind and solar energy are more established and wouldn't be included in the renewable energy rebate. This bill was also approved for print with a roll call vote. Following the approval of the two RS, there was discussion about have the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) before the committee to discussion tax policy, and possibly to outcome of the committees decisions. Following the discussion, it is currently undecided whether or not the PUC will stand before the committee.

Lastly, HB313 was also on the calendar this morning in the House Revenue and Taxation Committee, however it was not heard because it had not yet been referred to the committee. There is currently no agenda posted for a meeting of the House Revenue and Taxation Committee tomorrow morning. Also, HB95aa, aaS was on the 2nd reading calendar in the Senate this morning and after being read will move to the 3rd reading calendar tomorrow.

March 25, 2011

This morning the House Revenue and Taxation Committee did not hold a hearing. HB95, as mentioned yesterday moved through the amending order, and will be back on the Senate floor next week for final consideration. The official amendments to HB95 have been made available, click here to view.

As mentioned yesterday evening, SB1184 has passed the Senate floor with a vote of 20-15 and will now move to the House Education Committee. The House committee will hear this bill first thing Monday morning at 8:00am. In the event that the agenda changes, the link is provided here.

March 24, 2011

This morning, the House Revenue and Taxation Committee did not hold a hearing and plan to meet at the call of the chair for the remainder of the week.

The Senate met on the floor at 9:30am this morning and Senator Davis stated that they would go into the amending order before the noon hour possibly working on amendments to the two Urban Renewal bills, HB95 and HB110. Senator Davis also stated that the Senate would convene again this afternoon at 3:00pm to hear one bill, SB1184. More information will be posted if the urban renewal bills are in fact discussed and moved through the amending order.

Education Update:The afternoon, the Senate went on the floor at 3:00pm to discuss SB1184. Following a very long debate, similar to the length of debate that took place with the other education reform bills, the Senate passed the 3rd piece of legislation in the education reform bills with a vote of 20-15. This bill will now move to the House Education Committee.

Urban Renewal Update:HB297 was read across the desk this morning in the Senate and will move to the Senate Local Government and Taxation Committee. Also, the Senate did go into the the amending order just before the noon hour and it was asked that HB110 be returned to committee. The sponsor admits that the language in the bills is confusing, and possibly conflicting. Clarification could not be made on the bill, and with a unanimous consent request HB110 will be returned to the Senate Local Government Committee. Following this request, the Senate went into the committee of the whole Senate to consider HB95. There were three sets of amendments to the bill as listed below:

  • Amendment #1 - Amends section 3 of the bill which would be part of HB97 and would add a required description for the preparation and plan for an urban renewal district.
  • Amendment #2 - This amendment would insert language from HB96 and incorporate the exact language from that bill. Amending Idaho code listing items that are required of an urban renewal agency stating the total assessed evaluation within the municipality.
  • Amendment #3
    • Amendments to section 1, further clarification of the grand fathering in of current urban renewal agencies.
    • Amendments to section 2, a deletion of redundant language regarding the discursion of excess funds.
    • Amendments to section 4, making changes to the term regarding "forestry land".
    • Amendments to section 5, which speaks to whether or not you can amend an urban renewal area; this amendment would allow one amendment to the area.
    • Amendments to section 6, which would make clarification when talking about the removal of the agricultural tax exemption; also substituting "forestry land".
    • Amendments to section 7, which would take the code in the section and making text clarifications.
    • Additional amendment would provide an emergency clause to make it affective immediately upon passage, retroactive to January 1, 2011.

HB95 Amendments:The official amendments to HB95 have been made available, click here to view.

The committee of the whole then reported to the Senate the committee report, which was adopted. HB95 will be filed for first reading with the amendments being referred to the Senate Judiciary & Rules Committee for printing.

March 23, 2011

Update on HB297:Just before the noon hour, the House did bring forward HB297 for debate. The bill was carried on the House floor by Representative Mike Moyle. Some Representatives stood in support of the bill stating that economic development will be driven by this bill, and there were also House members that stood in opposition to the concept. Representative Moyle stated that policy like this will work because tax policy incentives businesses in the state, and we must pass tax policy that will be competitive with surrounding states. In closing debate, Representative Moyle stated that there is a reason why other states are doing better than Idaho, and that this is a good bill that will help in the current economy. After debate and a number of questions, the bill passed the House floor with a vote of 60-9 and will be sent to the Senate.

This morning, the House Revenue and Taxation committee further discussed HB250, the renewable energy rebate bill.  This bill would extend the tax rebate on renewable energy that began back in 2005.  Chairman Lake mentioned that there have been a number of suggestions on the legislation, however the chairman stated that this bill would solely focus on the extension of renewable energy tax rebate.  With some additional discussion, a motion was made to hold the bill in committee.  It was then asked of the sponsor if it would be more favorable to send the bill to the amending order to make changes, Representative Eskridge stated that may be a cleaner and quicker way to move the legislation forward.

Representative Roberts made a statement that he would not support legislation that could potentially have unknown adverse affects on the state, and would entertain having the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) before the committee for further discussion.  Representative Roberts had concerns about the correlation between baseline power, and renewable power that this bill is addressing. 

Representative Bedke stated that he is hesitant to support a trailer bill to the revised HB250, but would suggest two separate pieces of legislation to deal with some of the issues that were discussed in committee.  He also stated that there may be other issues that could be carved out to alleviate some of the other concerns on the legislation such as a concern stated by Representative Wood (35) of whether or not different types of renewable energy should be treated the same, and hold the same deadlines.

The committee then voted on the motion to hold the bill, with a voice vote the bill will be held in committee.  The understanding is that with this bill being held, there will be additional bills prepared and brought back before the committee.

Soon after, the Senate convened with the two Urban Renewal bills (HB95 and HB110) in the 14th order, and Senator Davis stated that the Senate intend to spend the majority of their time on the 3rd reading calendar this morning. Depending on how much work was completed an afternoon session of the Senate may happen. Senator Davis did not state whether or not they would work on bills that are sitting on the 14th order of business.

Also, on the 3rd reading calendar in the Senate this morning was SB1168, the appropriation bill for Professional-Technical Education (PTE). This bill would appropriate $56,896,100 for PTE, and if you recall from the last legislative session PTE had received an overall level of funding at $57,908,900 for FY2011. This bill was quickly presented on the Senate floor, and passed with a vote of 30-5 and will be sent across the rotunda to the House. As a reminder, there is a maintenance of effort associated with this appropriation, and as stated by Senator Mortimer on the floor this appropriation will likely fall roughly $1,000,000 under the maintenance of effort and over the next number of years, the state may be required to pay back roughly $250,000 for falling under that level.

March 22, 2011

This morning the House Revenue and Taxation Committee did not hold a hearing, however the committee will meet tomorrow morning to hear HB250 which is a continuation hearing on the renewable energy rebate bill. As a reminder, this bill was brought forward last week and a number of individuals testified on the bill.

The Senate met on the floor this morning at 10am and did in fact open the 14th order to work on bills waiting for amendments. Senator Davis stated on the floor that they would go into the amending order at about 10:45am, followed by an address to the Senators by U.S. Senator Mike Crapo. The Senate did go into the 14th order just before 11:00am and made amendments to a few different pieces of legislation, however the committee of the whole Senate did not hear the two pieces of legislation on Urban Renewal. As stated yesterday by Senator Davis, it is the intent of the Senate to go into the 14th order again this week.

This afternoon, the Senate Education Committee will discuss and debated SB1184 which is the third bill in the education reform legislation brought forward by Superintendent Luna. This is the newly revised piece of legislation that comes from SB1113. The committee will hear from the following stakeholders in committee: Idaho School Boards Association, Idaho Association of School Administrators, Idaho Education Association and the Idaho Parent-Teacher Association. Additional information will be posted following the hearing this afternoon.

Additionally, HB297, the new Income Tax Credit bill will be on the 2nd reading calendar tomorrow morning in the House. When and if this bill passes the House, it will most likely have a hearing in the Senate Local Government and Taxation Committee early next week.

Update: The Senate Education Committee met this afternoon and heard from the Governor's Office regarding SB1184, along with testimony from stakeholders as mentioned above. The introduction of the bill was given by Roger Brown form the office of the Governor stating that the portion requiring online classes has been removed, and also that the change in legislation has brought the cost from the original $60 million, down to roughly $20 million with this new piece of legislation. At 3:30pm, the committee continues to question and discuss this bill.

It is now just after 5:00pm, and the committee has finished stakeholder testimony on SB1184. With closing comments from Roger Brown, the committee further discussed the bill and with a motion from Senator Mortimer, and a second from Senator Fulcher, SB1184 passed the committee with a voice vote and will now move to the Senate floor with a do pass recommendation.

March 21, 2011

This morning the House Revenue and Taxation Committee met to discuss three items, with the first being RS20447 which deals with an income tax credit on capital investment. This RS was brought forward by the Idaho State Tax Commission, and as stated by the presenter should have been brought forward with previous legislation that made changes in Idaho tax code. Next, the committee heard RS20637 which is a new bill dealing with the income tax credit for new employees and has been brought forward because there was a line missing in the previous bill, HB279. The committee discussed the new RS in detail, with one point of clarification that the tax credit would decisions regarding employee provider health benefits up to the Idaho State Tax Commission in the rule making process.  This new RS has now been assigned a bill number being HB297, the new Jobs Bill.

Also, a chart was displayed showing counties throughout the state that have been over the 10% unemployment mark and that within the new RS, 18 counties throughout the state would fall under the $12 per hour provision while the rest of the state which had been under 10% unemployment would fall into the $15 per hour category. This is an effort to set the bar at a more achievable level for those counties in the state that have been hit the hardest with unemployment. The new RS was approved for print, and will be sent directly to the second reading calendar in the House.

On the Senate floor this morning, Senator Bart Davis gave a roadmap of the Senate for the next few weeks. Senator Davis stated that there is a small possibility that the Senate will sine die on April 1st, however that would only happen if "all the stars align" due to a few pieces of legislation that are still working their way through the process. Senator Davis also stated that the Senate intends to go into the 14th order of business to work on bill waiting for amendments on Tuesday March 22nd. This would include the consideration of amendments on the two urban renewal bills, HB95 and HB110 which passed to the 14th order in the Senate Local Government Committee last week. The Senate plans to go on the floor at 10am tomorrow morning.  As a reminder, and as posted on March 16th, the proposed amendments  to HB95 and HB110, from a number of individuals and groups are as follows:

  • Proposed Amendment #1: Grandfather existing agencies, including existing urban renewal projects.
  • Proposed Amendment #2: On page 5, section 2, would make changes for clarification with the deletion of sub-section L.
  • Proposed Amendment #3: On page 7, section 4, would make changes for clarification of "forestry operation", changing it to "forest land" which is the terminology currently used by the State Tax Commission.
  • Proposed Amendment #4: Changes to section 5 of the bill to allow for a one time 10% annexation of a district.
  • Proposed Amendment #5: Changes to page 11 for corrections in terminology and for clarification.
  • Proposed Amendment #6: Additional changes to correct the term "forest land".
  • Proposed Amendment #7: Changes to page 14, section 7 which would be a strike of language and re-write for additional clarification.
  • Proposed Amendment #8: Would add section 10 to page 17 creating an emergency section, retroactive to January 1, 2011.
  • Proposed Amendment #9 and #10: These proposed amendments would be pulling some of the language from HB96 and HB97.

Update: This afternoon the House re-convened on the floor to hear additional legislation on the 3rd reading calendar and also on the 2nd reading calendar.  The important piece of legislation that was approved (unanimous consent request to have an item on the 2nd reading calendar up for final consideration) to be voted on was HB285, the GARVEE appropriation bill.  This bill would be the final appropriation, or approval in the amount of $162 million for two final projects being Highway 16 (Star to Chinden) and the Garwood to Sagle project.  This bill was carried on the floor by Representative Eskridge, and after about an hour of debate with arguments in support and opposition, the bill passed with a vote of 42-28 and will be sent to the Senate.  Following this long debate, the House adjourned and will meet again tomorrow morning.

March 18, 2011

This morning the House Revenue and Taxation Committee met to hear additional testimony on HB250 which deals with renewable energy rebates. At the request of Chairman Lake, the bill will be held in committee until a time certain which will be next Wednesday March 23rd.

Also, on the House floor this morning HCR25 was on the 3rd reading calendar which deals with the grocery tax credit. The statement of purpose for this resolution states, "The purpose of this concurrent resolution is to request the implementation of a one (1) year delay of the incremental increase of the grocery tax credit. This will serve as a factor to balance the FY 2012 budget as recommended by the Governor." This bill was carried by Representative Cliff Bayer, and passed the House with a vote of 55-10.

The House Revenue and Taxation Committee will meet at 9:00am on Monday morning to hear RS20637 and also HB279, both dealing with the income tax credit for new employees. The committee will also hear RS20447 which deals with an income tax credit on capital investment.

March 17, 2011

This morning the House Revenue and Taxation Committee met with a full audience in attendance to hear HB250 which deals with renewable energy rebates. This bill would extend the sunset date of July1, 2011 on rebates of the sales and use tax for purchases of machinery and equipment used in generating electricity using fuel cells, low impact hydro, wind, geothermal resources, biomass, co generation, sun or landfill gas as the principal source of power.

A number of individuals signed up to testify on this legislation, and after some of those testimonies were heard by the committee the hearing and vote was postponed to conclude tomorrow morning at 8:30am. The rest of the testimony will be heard tomorrow morning, followed by the vote of the committee on the legislation.

March 16, 2011

This afternoon the Senate Local Government and Taxation Committee met to further discuss HB95 and HB110 both dealing with Urban Renewal. HB95 was briefly discussed, with two additional members of the audience giving testimony for points of clarification. There were a number of proposed amendments to the bill that the committee discussed which are listed below:

  • Proposed Amendment #1: Grandfather existing agencies, including existing urban renewal projects.
  • Proposed Amendment #2: On page 5, section 2, would make changes for clarification with the deletion of sub-section L.
  • Proposed Amendment #3: On page 7, section 4, would make changes for clarification of "forestry operation", changing it to "forest land" which is the terminology currently used by the State Tax Commission.
  • Proposed Amendment #4: Changes to section 5 of the bill to allow for a one time 10% annexation of a district.
  • Proposed Amendment #5: Changes to page 11 for corrections in terminology and for clarification.
  • Proposed Amendment #6: Additional changes to correct the term "forest land".
  • Proposed Amendment #7: Changes to page 14, section 7 which would be a strike of language and re-write for additional clarification.
  • Proposed Amendment #8: Would add section 10 to page 17 creating an emergency section, retroactive to January 1, 2011.
  • Proposed Amendment #9 and #10: These proposed amendments would be pulling some of the language from HB96 and HB97.

HB110 was then discussed, and there was a concern about the current language in the bill with regards to having two different public hearings. The concern was discussed among the committee members, and no public testimony was taken on this particular bill although there were a number of people in the audience.

Both HB95 and HB110 were before the committee, with both being moved to the 14th Order for possible amendments. As stated by Chairman Stegner, these bills will be discussed as a Committee of the Whole on the Senate floor to consider the proposed amendments at a later date.

Tomorrow morning the House Revenue and Taxation Committee will meet at 8:30am to hear HB250 which deals with renewable energy rebates. This bill would extend the sunset date of July1, 2011 on rebates of the sales and use tax for purchases of machinery and equipment used in generating electricity using fuel cells, low impact hydro, wind, geothermal resources, biomass, co generation, sun or landfill gas as the principal source of power.

March 15, 2011

This morning in the House Revenue and Taxation Committee HB239 was discussed, dealing with Micron Technology and the records disclosure exemption. This bill was pass through the committee and sent to the House floor with a do pass recommendation. The committee also discussed RS20508C1 dealing with the delay of the grocery tax credit. This issue was brought up at the beginning of the legislative session as a potential option during the budget shortfall, and the RS was approved and sent directly to the 2nd reading calendar in the House. Lastly, the committee heard the new jobs bill dealing with an income tax credit for new employees. This RS was also approved for print by the committee, and will be back for a full hearing at a later date. The House Revenue and Taxation Committee currently will not hold a hearing tomorrow morning, please check back to see when the next hearing will be held this week.

This afternoon the Senate Local Government and Taxation Committee met to discuss HB95 and HB110 both dealing with Urban Renewal. HB95 is the bill being carried by Representative Mike Moyle which would require a vote to create an urban renewal district, increase the public comment period from 30 to 60 days, provide for removal of board members for misconduct and other appointments, limit bond terms to 20 years, prohibit districts from expanding by annexation and would also require agriculture land owners to provide written consent before being included in the urban renewal district. HB110 is the bill being carried by Representative Vito Barbieri which would add a public hearing to the process of establishing an urban renewal project.

The committee heard testimony mainly on HB95, hearing from a number of different groups and entities from across the state. The committee did not take action on either piece of legislation, and will meet again tomorrow afternoon at 3:00pm in room WW53. It was apparent in this hearing that there are a number of proposed amendment that are being entertained, however Chairman Stegner made it clear a number of times that the Senate typically doesn't make bill amendments in committee and would rather take the usual route of entertaining amendments as a committee of the whole on the Senate floor. Chairman Stegner also made it clear a number of times that the committee and Senate are not obligated to consider any of the proposed amendments to the two pieces of legislation.

March 14, 2011

This morning the House Revenue and Taxation Committee did not hold a hearing, but plan to hold a hearing tomorrow morning. There are three different items that the committee will discuss, the first being HB239 which deals with records disclosure exemptions brought forward by Micron Technology. The other two items are RS, with the first RS20508C1 which deals with the grocery tax credit. The second is RS20595 brought forward by Mark Warbis of the Governor's office which is the income tax credit for new employees.

The Joint Finance and Appropriations Committee (JFAC) also didn't hold a hearing this morning, and also have not posted an agenda for tomorrow morning.

Reminder: Tomorrow, March 15th at 3:00pm in Room WW53, the Senate Local Government and Taxation Committee will hear HB95 and HB110 both dealing with Urban Renewal.

March 11, 2011

This morning the House revenue and Taxation Committee did not hold a hearing, and do not plan to meet on Monday March 14th.

The Joint Finance and Appropriations Committee (JFAC) did not hold a budget hearing this morning as they are currently in a "holding pattern" with some of the remaining state budgets such as public education and The Department of Health and Welfare, Medicaid. HB221 has been brought forward which would make changes to Medicaid funding, and would have potential cost savings of $39 million. This bill was before the House Health and Welfare Committee this week and also received multiple hours of public hearings. JFAC's next meeting will be subject to the call of the chair as important pieces of legislation are considered.

Additionally, SB1113 continues to be discussed in the Senate Education Committee. Please check back next week for more information about the changes that are being considered on this piece of legislation.

Reminder: HB96 and HB97 have not been scheduled for a hearing at this time. Also, there may be some consideration of amendments for HB95, which may mean that HB96 and HB97 possibly become irrelevant.

Reminder: On March 15th at 3:00pm in Room WW53, the Senate Local Government and Taxation Committee will hear HB95 and HB110 both dealing with Urban Renewal.

March 10, 2011

This morning the House Revenue and Taxation Committee met to hold a print hearing on RS20560C1 which is the renewable energy rebates bill. This was originally passed in 2007 with HB250. This RS would continue that energy rebate, and was approved for print by the committee. Chairman Lake mentioned that this bill would be back for a full hearing in a week to 10 days.

On Tuesday, March 15th the Senate Local Government and Taxation Committee will hear HB95 and HB110 both dealing with Urban Renewal. HB95 is the bill being carried by Representative Mike Moyle which would require a vote to create an urban renewal district and would also increase the public comment period from 30 to 60 days. HB110 is the bill being carried by Representative Vito Barbieri which would add a public hearing to the process of establishing an urban renewal project.

Update: The secretary of the Senate Local Government and Taxation Committee has indicated that HB96 and HB97 have not been scheduled for a hearing at this time. Also, there may be some consideration of amendments for HB95, which may mean that HB96 and HB97 possibly become irrelevant.

The House Revenue and Taxation Committee will not hold a hearing tomorrow morning.

March 9, 2011

This morning the House Revenue and Taxation Committee met to discuss HB236 which deals with cooperative service agencies and construction project expenditures. This bill would allow construction to commence a year earlier, with the contractor knowing the terms that payment would be made over a period of time. The contractor would have the ability to pay employees over this period of time. This bill was passed by the committee, with a motion by Representative Raybould to send the bill directly to the second reading calendar.

The Joint Finance and Appropriations Committee (JFAC) met early this morning to set the budget for GARVEE. The motion to fund the remaining two projects at $162 million passed the committee on a 17-3 vote, with the two remaining projects being Highway 16 (Star to Chinden) and the Garwood to Sagle project.

The House convened at 9:30am this morning to begin debate on SB1110, which would implement a pay-for-performance plan for teachers. After hours of debate on the floor, this bill passed with a vote of 44-26 and will move forward for the signature of the Governor.

March 8, 2011

This morning the House Revenue and Taxation Committee met to hear two new RS, the first RS20569 dealt with record disclosure exemptions and the second RS20553 dealt with the Industrial Commission and a premium tax. Both of these RS were approved for print and will be back before the committee at a later date.

Also, the House convened this morning at 9:00am to hear SB108 and SB1110, the two education reform bills. Representative Nonini asked that the reading of SB108 be dispensed with, followed by an objection. With the objection, SB108 was read in its entirety (25 pages) which took about an hour to finish. The debate on this bill lasted for quite some time, and when the debate was finished the House voted and passed the bill with a 48-22 vote. Following this vote, Representative Mike Moyle asked that the remainder of the bills on the third reading calendar be held for one legislative day, meaning that SB1110 will be debated tomorrow at 9:30am. The other piece of legislation from this education reform package is SB1113, which deals with classroom size is still in the Senate Education Committee.

March 7, 2011

The House Revenue and Taxation Committee met this morning to hear and discuss one bill, and one RS. The first item was HB217 which deals with district hospital law, and the ability to incur indebtedness. The bill was presented by the Idaho Hospital Association, and would change Idaho statute to fall in line with the constitutional change from the general election in 2010. This bill was passed to the House floor with a do pass recommendation.

Second, the committee heard from Representative Bob Nonini with RS20518C1 which deals with cooperative service agencies and construction project expenditures. Representative Nonini mentioned that this is a follow-up bill to HB35 from earlier in the session. HB35, would have allowed for expenditures for authorized construction projects and to provide that no debt service costs be incurred. This RS was approved for printing and will be back before the committee at a later date.

The House Revenue and Taxation Committee will hold a hearing tomorrow morning to discuss one RS. Additionally, the House will convene at 9:00am tomorrow morning with SB108 and SB1110 being at the top of the 3rd reading calendar. Both of these pieces of legislation are the education reform bills brought forward by Superintendent Tom Luna and will be carried on the House floor by Representative Nonini who is chairman of the House Education Committee.

March 4, 2011

This morning the House Revenue and Taxation Committee did not hold a hearing, but plan to meet on Monday March 7th at 9:00am to discuss two items. The first will be HB217 which deals with the ability of district hospitals to incur indebtedness. The second will be RS20518C1 which deals with construction project expenditures.

SB1108 and SB1110, which are the two education reform bills, will be up on the 3rd reading calendar in the House, Wednesday March 9th.

March 3, 2011

This morning the House Revenue and Taxation Committee met to discuss two pieces of legislation. HB213 deals with changes in Idaho statute on gratuities for restaurants regarding a sales tax exemption. Currently in rule, the Idaho State Tax Commission was collecting sales tax on certain gratuities and this legislation would create an exemption on certain gratuities. This bill will be sent to the House floor with a do pass recommendation.

Lastly, the committee heard HB214 which deals with non-resident students motor vehicle use fees. This bill would make changes to Idaho statute to allow for the use tax collection on a vehicle that is in the state for longer than 90 days without being registered within the state. This bill passed the committee and will be sent to the House floor with a do pass recommendation.

The House Revenue and Taxation Committee will not hold a hearing tomorrow morning, but will meet on Monday March 7th.

The House Education also met this morning the continue the hearing on the education reform bills, SB1108 and SB1110. This morning was set aside to hear from the education stakeholder's such as the Idaho Education Association, the Idaho Parent/Teachers Association and the Idaho School Boards Association among others. The committee discussed, debated and questioned the bills and the presenters all morning. At the end of the hearing the committee voted on the two bills with SB1108 passing the committee on a 13-5 vote, following a failed motion to send the bill to general orders. SB1110 also passed the committee with a 13-5 vote. Both bills will now move to the House floor with a do pass recommendation.

March 2, 2011

Click here to read two letters sent to Representative Rusche and the House and Senate Health and Welfare Committees from Wayne Hammon, Administrator of the Idaho Division of Financial Management.

This morning the House Revenue and Taxation Committee to discuss two bills and one RS. The first bill was HB194 which deals with a sales tax rebate on media media production projects. This bill was discussed by the committee, and they even watched a trailer of a film that was made in Council, Idaho. This bill passed the committee and will be sent to the floor with a do pass recommendation. The second bill was HB200 which deals with the occupancy status of newly improved residential areas; this bill was held in committee at the request of the sponsor. Lastly, the committee heard RS20515 which dealt with incurring indebtedness with district hospital law. This RS would make changes to state statute to not conflict with the recently passed constitutional amendment. This bill was approved for print by the committee, and will be back before the committee next week.

Also, the House Revenue and Taxation Committee will meet tomorrow morning at 9am.

March 1, 2011

This afternoon the House went on the floor later than usual following a long House education hearing, and also a long House Revenue and Taxation Committee hearing dealing with school district budget stabilization levies. Also, on the House floor this afternoon they discussed the Urban Renewal bills HB99, HB95, HB96, HB97, HB110 and HB114 that are listed to the right.

First, the floor heard HB99 which would require an election for an urban renewal district to go to a vote before incurring a debt. This bill was carry on the floor by Representative Phil Hart and failed to pass the House floor with a vote of 20-49.

Second, the floor discussed HB95 which would provide for an election of the board of commissioners and language for replacement of a board commissioner. This bill passed in the House with a vote of 68-0.

The third bill that was up for consideration was HB96 which makes changes to statute to allow for other taxing districts to opt-out of an urban renewal district. This bill passed the floor with a vote of 43-27.

The fourth bill discussed was HB97 which makes changes to the statute to make urban renewal district one single project with a termination date, while also determining the distribution of funding. This bill passed the floor with a vote of 43-26.

The fifth bill was HB110 which would provide for a public hearing on all urban renewal projects. This bill passed the House with a vote of 67-0.

The last urban renewal bill was HB114 which would provide for an election of the board of commissioners on an urban renewal agency. This bill failed in the House with a vote of 27-43.

Later this afternoon the in the Senate Local Government and Taxation committee was the continuation of the hearing on the Jobs Bill, HB126. Some additional testimony was taken on this bill, and the committee continued the discussion. John Watts answered additional questions to the committee about the legislation. Senator McGee made a motion to send the bill to the floor with a do pass recommendation and explained that in an effort to stimulate the economy that he has discussions very similar to the efforts of this bill. This bill failed to pass the committee with a vote of 4-5.

February 28, 2011

Jobs Bill Update: An action alert has been posted on the Jobs Bill (HB126) as the bill has been held for a continuation of the hearing tomorrow Tuesday March 1st at 3:00pm, click here if you would like to take action on this legislation to encourage the committee members support.

The House will have all of the urban renewal pieces of legislation on the 3rd reading calendar tomorrow for consideration. The majority of the bills were held while HB95 and HB99 were placed on general orders for amendment. The engrossed versions of each bill can be found here: HB95 Engrossed and HB99 Engrossed. Check back tomorrow for more information and the vote outcome for each of the urban renewal bills.

This morning the House Revenue and Taxation Committee did not hold a hearing, but plan to hold a hearing tomorrow morning at 9:00am to hear one bill dealing with school district budget stabilization levies, and two RS dealing with motor vehicle use fees and also sales tax exemptions.

February 25, 2011

This morning the House Revenue and Taxation Committee did not hold a hearing, and the committee secretary has also posted that the committee will not hold a hearing on Monday the 28th. It was also indicated on the House third reading calendar that the urban renewals bills will be held until March 1st to be discussed and voted on by the House.

The House Local Government Committee will hear another urban renewal bill on Monday the 28th at 1:30pm being carried by Representative Shaefer relating to the Local Economic Development Act and to revise certain periods of time relating to contesting certain ordinances, resolutions or proceedings or certain bonds.

February 24, 2011

This morning the House Revenue and Taxation committee met to hear one new RS dealing with changes to Idaho statute dealing with new construction, and the reported process for occupancy of new construction. This bill would make changes where the assessor would consider new finalized construction as occupied unless otherwise notified. This bill has been approved for printing and will be back before the committee next week.

The Senate also debate at length two of the three pieces of legislation brought forward by Superintendent Luna which are SB1108 and SB1110. The first bill was debated for over 3 hours on the Senate floor before it was voted upon, with it being passed with a vote of 20-15. The Senate then had under consideration SB1110 relating to pay for performance. This bill was discussed discussed and debated for quite some time and also passed the Senate with a vote of 20-15.

The Jobs Bill (HB126) was before the Senate Local Government and Taxation Committee at 3:00pm. John Watts addressed the committee and explained the bill at length, followed by questions from the committee regarding some of the technical aspects of the bill. The committee then heard many individuals step forward in support of this legislation, but ultimately Chairman Stegner opted to hold the committee and continue the hearing on Tuesday March 1st when the committee will then vote on the Jobs Bill.

February 23, 2011

This morning in the House Revenue and Taxation Committee, four items were discussed. The first being RS20445 which was dealing with the cigarette excise tax. The second was RS20176C1 which would strike out language and change a date dealing with school district budget stabilization levies.

The committee then heard two pieces of legislation from Senator Tim Corder, the first being SB1053 which would make changes to Idaho statute dealing with the certification to the assessor regarding agricultural lands. This bill was discuss at length by the committee, and was sent to general orders to make changes to the bill. The second bill was SB1079 dealing with changes to the state tax refund extension for active duty military. This bill was very briefly discussed, and sent to the House floor with a do pass recommendation.

The House Revenue and Taxation Committee plans to hold a meeting tomorrow morning at 9:00am, and as stated by Chairman Lake will be a short meeting currently with only one item on the agenda.

Also, on the House floor this morning Representative Mike Moyle stated that the urban renewal bills on the third reading calendar would be moved to the bottom of the calendar to allow for the other urban renewal bills on the amending order to catch up, in an effort to hear all of the urban renewal bills on one day.

February 22, 2011

This morning the House Revenue and Taxation Committee met to hear two pieces of legislation, the first being HB173 which deals with installed airplane parts taxation. This bill would exempt sales tax on these items that are installed during maintenance or modification. Western Aircraft of Boise stated that this bill would create new jobs at their business. This bill passed the committee with a do pass recommendation and will be sent to the House.

The second bill was HB178 which dealing with complying to HJR5 and HJR7 which passed in the 2010 general election. This bill passed the committee and will move to the House floor.

Additionally, the House did make get to the urban renewal bills that are currently on the third reading calendar, as debate on other pieces of legislation were the focus on the floor this morning.

February 21, 2011

This morning the House Revenue and Taxation Committee did not hold a hearing, but plan on meeting tomorrow morning at 9:00am to discuss HB172 dealing with airplane parts taxation, and also HB178 dealing with city revenue bonds due to the constitutional amendment that was before the voters in the November 2010 general election.

The House did not get to House Bills 96, 97, 110 or 114 today; they may debate them tomorrow on the Third Reading calendar.  If all the bills remain in their current place, which is not always certain, there will be five bills in front of the urban renewal bills. 

HB95 and HB99 remain on the General Orders calendar, and most likely will not be addressed tomorrow.

February 18, 2011

Today, the House Revenue and Taxation Committee did not meet, and will not meet on Monday February 21st. The Committee will plan to meet on again on Tuesday of next week.

The Senate Education Committee finished their public testimony and hearings yesterday evening, and passed all three of the education reform bills (SB1108, SB1110 and SB1113). All three of these bills will now move to the Senate floor to be debated next week.

February 17, 2011

This morning the House Revenue and Taxation Committee met to hear two new RS. The first was presented by Representative Fred Wood, and was a conformity piece of legislation that would change Idaho statute to conform with the recently passed House Joint Resolutions from the previous election cycle. This would make changes in definitions in reference to airports and also electric power facilities. This RS was approved for print by the committee and will be back for a full hearing most likely next week.

The second RS was dealing with insurance issues, more specifically surplus line insurance issues. The RS was covered in detail, and the presenter gave the examples for surplus line insurance as the ability or need to insure a Boise State University's quarterback's arm, a ski area, or a business dealing in explosives. The understanding was that surplus line insurance issues were not typical insurance issues such as the abovementioned items. This RS was approved for print, and was referred to the House Business Committee. The only reason that the print hearing was held in the House Revenue and Taxation Committee was because the RS had a reference to tax toward the end of the proposed legislation.

Chairman Lake also mentioned that the House Revenue and Taxation Committee would not hold a hearing tomorrow or Monday, and the next hearing would be held on Tuesday February 22nd.

February 16, 2011

An action alert has been posted to Take Action on the Jobs Bill (HB126), please click here to take action on this important piece of legislation. Take the time to contact Senator Joe Stegner and Senator Brent Hill and ask them to hold a hearing on the Jobs Bill HB126.

Also, HB126 the Jobs Bill has passed the House with a 64-3 vote and will now move to the Senate. More information will be provided on this bill as it continues through the process. The three "no" votes on this bill in the House were Representative Barbieri, Representative Luker and Representative McGeachin.

This morning the House Revenue and Taxation Committee met to discuss two new RS, the first dealing with the taxation of airplane parts and the second dealing with Idaho individual income tax returns. Both of these RS were passed through the committee and approved for print with little to no discussion.

Click Here to read a letter sent by Matter Hunter on behalf of the ICA to the House Local Government Committee.

Evening Update: The House Local Government Committee met this afternoon beginning at 1:30pm to hear the urban renewal bills listed at the right. The committee finish hearing these bills at about 6:00pm this evening after many individuals in attendance to testify, followed by numerous questions from the committee of most of the individuals testifying. Below are the results of this hearing for each piece of legislation:

  • House Bill 95 - Dealing with urban renewal district elections, boards, annexation, agriculture and revenue allocation.
    • Original Motion - Representative Barbieri, Pass to floor (withdrawn)
    • Second Motion - Representative Bayer, Pass to General Orders (passed, voice vote)

  • House Bill 96 - Dealing with the allowance of opting out of an urban renewal district
    • Original Motion - Representative Collins, Pass to floor
    • Substitute Motion - Representative Luker, Pass to General Orders (failed, 6-4 role call vote)
    • Action on Original Motion (passed, voice vote)

  • House Bill 97 - Amends both urban renewal and economic development law
    • Original Motion - Representative Barbieri, Pass to floor (passed, voice vote)

  • House Bill 99 - Requires votes for issuance of urban renewal agency
    • Original Motion - Representative Luker, Pass to General Orders (passed, 6-4 role call vote)

  • House Bill 114 - Would require elections for urban renewal boards of commissioners
    • Original Motion - Representative Barbieri, Pass to Floor
    • Substitute Motion - Representative Luker, Pass to General Orders (failed, 6-4 role call vote)
    • Action on Original Motion (passed, voice vote)

  • House Bill 110 - Would require public hearings for Urban Renewal Projects
    • Original Motion - Representative Bayer, Pass to floor (passed, voice vote)

February 15, 2011

The House Revenue and Taxation Committee did not meet this morning, but plan on meeting tomorrow morning, however an agenda has not been posted.

Reminder: The House Local Government Committee will hear the urban renewal legislation that is listed to the right tomorrow, Wednesday February 16th. An agenda for this hearing has not yet been posted, but continue to check the website this afternoon for additional updates.

February 14, 2011

This morning the House Revenue and Taxation Committee held a hearing to cover SB1052 and HB124. Senate Bill 1052 is titled as a sales and use fee - for military personnel not domiciled in Idaho and would provide a tax exemption from use tax for military personnel who are temporarily assigned to service in the state and also for spouses who accompany them. This bill was passed and will move to the House floor, to be carried by Representative JoAn Wood.

House Bill 124 is a piece of legislation would amend existing Idaho code relating to property tax, and a new construction roll within a certain time frame. This would provide for a five year time frame that changes could be made and how the increase in property tax budgets are calculated. This bill was presented by Representative Ken Roberts, passed the committee with no questions nor opposition and will again be carried by Representative Roberts on the House Floor.

The House Revenue and Taxation Committee does not plan to hold a meeting tomorrow, Tuesday the 15th but will hold a meeting on Wednesday the 16th at 9am.

Reminder: The House Local Government Committee will hear the urban renewal legislation that is listed to the right on Wednesday February 16th. More information will be made available on the legislatures website this week as the agenda and bill order of the hearing is posted.

February 11, 2011

Update: The House Local Government Committee will hear the urban renewal legislation that is listed to the right on Wednesday February 16th. More information will be made available on the legislatures website next week as the agenda and bill order of the hearing is posted.

Today the House Revenue and Taxation Committee did not hold a hearing, but plan to meet on Monday February 14th.

Currently, the House Local Government Committee does not have an agenda posted for Monday February 14th, however there is a rumor floating around that the committee may possibly hear the urban renewal bills on Monday. Please check back for more information later in the day.

February 10, 2011

This morning the House Revenue and Taxation Committee discussed the Jobs Bill, HB126. John Watts covered specific changes to Idaho code that are within the bill, and provided information to the committee in reference to questions about health insurance and how it applies to the 4% job refundable credit. The committee also discussed the balance of the withholdings and the net to the state based on different employee salaries, and part time job creation and house the would affect the general fund of the state.

The committee initially made two motions to pass the bill, withdrew both motions and made changes to the statement of purchase and fiscal note to incorporate information regarding the hiring of part time employees at the required $12 per hour minimum. Following the revision to the statement of purpose, the committee voted to send the bill to the House floor with a do pass recommendation. Additionally, the statement of purpose on the Jobs Bill also listed Governor Butch Otter as a co-sponsor. There were no votes in opposition to this piece of legislation, and it will appear on the House 1st reading calendar and begin to move to a vote next week.

The House Revenue and Taxation Committee will not hold a hearing tomorrow morning, but Chairman Lake did mention that they intend to hold a meeting on Monday February 14th.

February 9, 2011

Today the House Revenue and Taxation Committee did not hold a hearing. As mentioned yesterday, the Jobs Bill has been made available online and will most likely be up for a full hearing within the next few weeks before the House Revenue and Taxation Committee. Also, the bill dealing with urban renewal presented by Representative Leon Smith has been assigned a bill number and is listed under the "Bills To Watch" section to the right.

This afternoon, the Senate Education Committee will continue the public hearing on SB1068 and SB1069, which have also been listed to the right. Today should be the final day for public testimony, and as indicated by Chairman Goedde, the committee will continue to discuss the details of these bills and vote on Thursday afternoon. The Senate Education hearings are available to watch online by visiting the Idaho Public Television website.

Update: Additionally, the Jobs Bill will be before the House Revenue and Taxation Committee tomorrow morning at 9:00am being presented again by John Watts. Please click here to view a PDF article.

February 8, 2011

The jobs bill (RS20291C1) which was before the House Revenue and Tax Committee last week, was once again discussed this morning by John Watts. This piece of legislation is being brought forth by the Idaho Chamber Alliance in an effort to stimulate the economy, and to help to get some 70,000 Idahoans that are currently unemployed back to work. This proposed piece of legislation would apply to new employees, employed for a minimum of 9 months with health benefits. The proposal would also require that the new job have a wage of $12 per hour. This would create a 4% refundable tax credit as an incentive for the new hire, where the funding would go into a state refund account (same as the tax withholding account) and then redistributed. This RS was discussed, with some questions being asked by the committee and it being unanimously sent to the print.

The House Revenue and Taxation Committee as discussed RS20296 which dealing with changes to the urban renewal statute. This proposed piece of legislation was brought before the committee by Representative Leon Smith, and as previously reported all other urban renewal bills have been sent to the House Local Government Committee, however Chairman Lake mentioned that this bill will stay with the House Revenue and Taxation Committee.

This bill would make changes to the current statute by requiring that an urban renewal agency board member reside within the area of the urban renewal district. It also makes changes dealing with the terms of office, changing them from 5 years to 2 years. It would also change the language where an current urban renewal district could no longer expand, with respect to the "shoe stringing" issue discussed during the 2010 legislative session. This bill would also change the life span of an urban renewal district from 24 years, to 20 years. Lastly, this bill would require that all urban renewal districts prepare an annual fiscal report to show all funds within a district, all obligated funds and excess funds if applicable. If there are excess funds within the report, those funds may then be distributed to the underlying districts. All of this would also be discussed at a required public hearing specific to an urban renewal district, and the annual report.

Chairman Lake mentioned at the adjournment of the hearing that the House Revenue and Taxation Committee would not hold a meeting tomorrow morning, Wednesday the 9th. Additionally, the Senate Education Committee will meeting again this afternoon at 3pm to take public testimony regarding SB1068 and SB1069, which are the two pieces of legislation brought forth by Superintendent Tom Luna.

February 7, 2011

This morning the House Revenue and Taxation Committee did not hold a hearing, but plan to meet tomorrow morning at 9am to discuss the jobs bill which was presented last week by John Watts, and was held for a few minor corrections.

The House State Affairs Committee met this morning at 8:30am and discussed RS20184 regarding auditorium districts. The committee heard from Michael Kane of the Pocatello-Chubbuck Auditorium District. Mr. Kane mentioned that this RS wouldn't raise taxes, but it would answer three basic questions. The law was first passed in 1959 in an effort to attract conventions or events into communities to help with local economies. This would amend the current law to define the marketing of auditorium districts, and how money can be spent through an auditorium district. The RS was introduced for printing, and will be before the committee with a bill number at a later date.

Also, this afternoon the Senate Education Committee met in the Senate Auditorium to accommodate many people in attendance to hear discussion on SB1068 and SB1069, which are the two pieces of legislation brought forth by Superintendent Tom Luna. The committee discussed the two pieces of legislation which was mainly presentation of the two bills from Superintendent Luna and Jason Hancock of the Department of Education. The committee will continue to hear from the Department of Education, the Idaho School Boards Association, the Idaho Association of School Administrators, the Idaho Education Association, the Idaho Parent-Teacher Association, and the Idaho Business Coalition for Education Excellence. The committee will also continue to hear public testimony Tuesday and Wednesday, while tentatively looking to finally discuss and possibly vote on the bills on Thursday the 10th.

February 4, 2011

As mentioned on February 2nd, a numbers of bills dealing with urban renewal were presented in the House Local Government Committee. Those that have been assigned bill numbers are listed under the "bills to watch" section to the right.

The House Local Government Committee met following the adjournment of the House to hear an urban renewal RS which was before the committee earlier this week, and was sent back for additional changes. RS20191C2 was briefly discussed, and was sent to print with the revisions that had been made. This RS would require that urban renewal board be comprised of 5 members, elected countywide but requiring that the city with the urban renewal district hold the majority of the seats on the committee.

The House Revenue and Taxation Committee has posted an agenda showing that it will not hold a meeting on Monday February 7th. Lastly, the Senate Education Committee has posted an agenda showing a hearing for SB1068 and SB1069, which are two proposals from Superintendent Tom Luna which will be discussed in detail on Monday at 3:00pm in the Senate Auditorium.

February 3, 2011

This morning, the House Revenue and Taxation Committee heard from John Watts to present and discuss RS20291 which is titled Tax rebate - New Jobs Incentive bill. This proposed piece of legislation from the Idaho Chamber Alliance would repeal the current jobs tax credit, and put in its place a 4% tax credit for new job creation. The goal of this piece of legislation is to provide an incentive to employers to create new hires in the current economy, and to create new jobs in Idaho. Additionally, the goal was to not affect the general fund but to keep this opportunity budget neutral. The committee discussed this RS, posed many questions and ultimately Chairman Lake held this RS in committee for additional changes. Please keep a watch on the website for more information about this piece of legislation.

The House Revenue and Taxation Committee has posted an agenda and does not plan to meet tomorrow, Friday the 4th.

February 2, 2011

The House Revenue and Taxation Committee did not hold a meeting this morning, but have posted on agenda for tomorrow, Thursday February 3rd. This afternoon the House Local Government Committee heard and discussed 7 different RS all dealing with Urban Renewal.

The first was RS20234 dealing with urban renewal agencies, elections and revisions. This RS would provide for a citywide election process, steps for commission vacancies, extend the comment period from 30 to 60 days, require written consent of an agricultural land owner to be included in the urban renewal district, eliminate any extension of urban renewal districts and reduce the life of a district from 24 to 20 years.

The second was RS20270 which dealt with revenue allocation areas and would require that allocations be made available to the public, and also require that overlying districts such as water, sewer or library districts would have the ability to opt out of an urban renewal district.

The third was RS20099C1 which deals with the single project refunds disbursed back the the taxpayers when the project is completed or at the end of the urban renewal lifetime which is currently 24 years. This RS also states that all actions of an urban renewal district must be well defined, and the public must be clearly informed of the purpose of an urban renewal district.

Fourth before the committee was RS20191 which deals with the election of board members. This RS would require that urban renewal board be comprised of 5 members, elected countywide but requiring that the city with the urban renewal district hold the majority of the seats on the committee. This was the only RS before the committee that was send back to the sponsor for a correction, and will be back before the committee at a later date.

Fifth was RS20083C1, which deals with elections and bonds for indebtedness. This RS would require all urban renewal districts to be approved by a 2/3 vote, similar to school bond elections.

Sixth before the committee was RS20084 which would require urban renewal agencies to hold a public hearing during the formation process of a new urban renewal district.

Lastly, the committee heard RS20149C1, which would completely repeal Title 50 Chapter 20 of Idaho code which deals specifically with urban renewal law. This RS would not deal with Title 50 Chapter 29, which is the local economic development act.

All of these RS will be printed except for RS20191 which will be corrected, and back before the committee. Please check back for more information about these pieces of legislation and they will be printed and assigned a bill number within the next day or two.

February 1, 2011

This morning the Idaho Chamber Alliance held their last breakfast for Chamber Days with guest speakers President Pro Tempore Brent Hill, Speaker of the House Lawerence Denney, Senate Minority Leader Edgar Malepeai and House Minority Leader John Rusche. All of the guest speakers discussed a number of topics from education, health and welfare, the economy and also job creation related to the upcoming jobs bill discussed yesterday by John Watts.

The House Revenue and Taxation Committee also met this morning to discuss and vote on HB35. The committee discussed this piece of legislation for roughly an hour, with much of the committee having concerns with the bill. This bill would allow construction to occur prior to the tax revenue being their, essentially allowing a pay-as-you-go situation. Some committee members had concerns about this with the current economic situation and unknown fluctuations in construction costs. Representative Mike Moyle mentioned that he felt the legislation was bad tax policy, and that it does not protect the taxpayer because, in his opinion, that amount utilized to begin the construction could end up back on the taxpayers to cover the bill.

This legislation was voted on with a role call vote, and failed with 10 members of the committee voting no. The House Revenue and Taxation committee will not meet tomorrow morning, but plan to hold a meeting for Thursday February 3rd.

Also of note, the jobs bills discussed by John Watts was to have a print hearing this morning but was delayed. Look for this print hearing to happen in the near future, possibly this week.

January 31, 2011

As you all very well know, we are in the middle of Chamber Days at the Idaho Legislature. Today held a great number of people and speakers for the all day activities. This morning the group heard from Superintendent Tom Luna discussing his new plan for education in Idaho. The keynote speaker for the luncheon was Jason Perry, VP of Government Relations for the University of Utah discussion opportunities for economic growth, job creation and business expansion. The group also heard from John Watts regarding the upcoming jobs bill which would give incentive to businesses for hiring new employees. The afternoon was rounded out with Senator Dean Cameron and Representative Janice McGeachin discussing healthcare issues, Lieutenant Governor Brad Little and Randy Nelson of the Associated Taxpayers of Idaho discussed a number of issues pertinent to economic success in the state of Idaho.

The House Revenue and Taxation committee did not meet this morning, however the committee will hold a meeting tomorrow to discuss HB35 which deals with Cooperative Service Agencies. The proposed change in this legislation due to the fact that previous legislation actually restricted the start of construction projects will allow construction to be started as funds are collected, streamlining the process still without incurring debt or associated costs.

January 28, 2011

Yesterday, the new piece of legislation was printed and was referred to the House Ways and Means Committee. With this action taken on the bill, given action in years past, placing this bill in the Ways and Means Committee possible means that no action will be taken on the bill this year. In the event that the bill does receive a hearing, that information will be reported.

The House Revenue and Taxation Committee did not hold a meeting this morning. Currently, no agenda has been posted for next week.

January 27, 2011

This morning the House Renenue and Taxation Committee met to hear one piece of legislation from Senator John Goedde (HB35) dealing with construction project expenditures. The committee discussed this bill, and had a number of questions regarding taxes collected over the term of the authorized levy. Chairman Lake made the decision to hold the bill until next Tuesday February 1st for futher discussion and clarification.

The House Revenue and Taxation committee will not hold a meeting tomorrow moring, please check back next week for additional updates.

Update: Additionally, we have been made aware of some information by Mr. Kushlan, the Executive Director of Capital City Development Corporation that urban renewal bills will be heard through the House Local Government Committee rather than the House Revenue and Taxation Committee; the Local Government Committee is chaired by Representative Lenore Barrett. Mr, Kushlan also noted that an initial piece of legislation to be considered would repeal the urban renewal statutes.

January 26, 2011

The Streamlined Sales Tax Project, deemed the "annual ritual" by Representative Leon Smith was before the House Revenue and Taxation Committee this morning. As seen in previous years, this was essentially an identical bill as seen in the 2010 legislative session which allows the Idaho State Tax Commission to "sit at the table" with 24 other states that are currently members of the project to determine what requirements and steps would need to be taken to join the group of states to begin collection of online sales tax. Representative Leon Smith stated that this is a "fact finding operation", and the current RS would not make any changes to state law. He also mentioned that a recent study showed that Idaho has an estimated loss of $35 million by not collected online sales tax. Also, currently in Congress there is a piece of legislation called the Mainstreet Fairness Act which would accomplish a similar task as this current proposal.

Representative John Rusche made the motion to print the RS, followed by an additional request for a role call vote. The RS was moved to print with a vote of 12-6, with some members of the committee commenting that they would only be voting for the bill to print, and others standing with a very firm "no" on the printing of the legislation. Continue to check the website for updates on this legislation as there have been changes to the member of the House Revenue and Taxation Committee, which could possibly change the discuss on this topics from previous years.

Chairman Lake mentioned that the committee will hold a short meeting tomorrow morning to hear and discuss one piece of legislation. An agenda has been posted online showing that the committee will not hold a meeting on Friday the 28th.

January 25, 2011

The House Revenue and Taxation Committee did not hold a meeting this morning as mentioned in yesterday's report. The committee agenda has been posted, and an RS will be before the committee dealing with the Streamlined Sales Tax Project (RS20049) being carried by Representative Leon Smith. Please check back tomorrow for more information regarding the details of this legislation.

January 24, 2011

The Joint Finance and Appropriations Committee (JFAC) met this morning at 8am to hear from Idaho Professional-Technical Education (PTE) regarding the current program activities, and the FY2012 budget request. As reported last year for the PTE FY2011 budget, there was concern whether or not they would meet the federally required maintenance of effort funding level and that issue remains for the FY2012 budget request. PTE requests $57,947,200 in total funding with $47,562,700 coming from the general fund. Currently, PTE will look to apply for a supplemental federal grant award which would help to meet the maintenance of effort level, however, that grant award is currently unavailable to provide a status report. PTE will begin to pursure this grant award when it is made available in an effort to meet the maintenance of effort level.

Also, the House Revenue and Taxation Committee met at 9am to discuss the items listed in the January 21st report. RS 19993 was approved and sent to print, all of the docket numbers listed were accepted as recommended by the Collins subcommittee, and HB0011, HB0012, and HB0013 were all sent to the House floor with a recommendation that they all pass.

Chairman Lake mentioned that the committee would hold a brief meeting tomorrowing morning, Tuesday the 25th.

January 21, 2011

This morning, the Joint Finance and Appropriations Committee (JFAC) met to hold a public hearing on the public education budget and Superintendent Luna's new plan for education. The hearing began at 8am, and there were many Idaho citizens in attendance in support and opposed to the proposed changes from Superintendent Tom Luna. The Professional Technical Education budget will be discussed Monday the 24th at 8am in JFAC; look for information regarding that budget item on Monday's report. The House Revenue and Taxation Committee did not meet this Friday morning, but plan to meet on Monday the 24th to hear the following items:

  • RS 19993 - Construction projects of cooperative service agencies.
  • Docket No. 35-0101-1002 - Pending income tax administration rules
  • Docket No. 35-0101-1003 - Pending income tax administration rules
  • Docket No. 35-0201-1001 - Pending tax commission administrative and enforcement rules
  • Docket No. 35-0102-1001 - Pending sales and use tax administrative rules
  • Docket No. 35-0102-1002 - Pending sales and use tax administrative rules
  • Docket No. 35-0103-1003 - Pending Property tax administration rules
  • HB0011 - Relating to taxation of forest lands - forest management cost study
  • HB0012 - Technical corrections releating to taxation of motor fuels
  • HB0013 - Relating to property taxes. Clarifies exemption for new capital investment

January 20, 2011

The House Revenue and Taxation Committee met this morning with one RS, and 5 bills displayed on the agenda all being from the Idaho State Tax Commission. RS 20144 relating to a homeowner's exemption for property taxes while the homeowner is away due to military, religious or humanitarian service was sent to print. The additional 5 bills (HB0006, HB0007, HB0008, HB0009 and HB0010) were also heard by the committee; all of the listed bills passed and will be sent to the House floor except HB0009, which was held in committee at the call of the chair.

The House Revenue and Taxation Committee will not hold a meeting tomorrow morning, Friday the 21st but plans to meet on Monday January 24th to hear the following items as listed on the committee agenda.

January 19, 2011

This morning the House Revenue and Taxation Committee did not hold a meeting. The committee will meet tomorrow morning to hear a number of bills brought forth by the Idaho State Tax Commission. To view the schedule please click here.

January 18, 2011

This morning was filled with a joint hearing between JFAC and the Senate and House Education Committees to hear from Superintendent Tom Luna regarding his proposal for changes in education, called the Students Come First plan. Superintendent Luna covered much of the information that was reported on January 12th, but took the opportunity to go into more detail about the FY2012 education budget. Much of the information that is listed within the provided PDF displayed to the right is displayed in investments and cost savings. Superintendent Luna discussed taking what we are currently spending, finding efficiencies and investing those dollars into areas that would get more money into the classroom.

Also this morning, the House Revenue and Taxation Committee did not meet as mentioned allowing time for the Collins subcommittee to discuss rules. The full committee plans to meet again tomorrow morning.

January 17, 2011

This morning the House Revenue and Taxation Committee met to discuss a number of RS that were brought forth by the Idaho State Tax Commission. With 8 RS is all, the committee moved through them relatively quickly sending all of them forward with approval to print. Below are the RS that were before the committee:

  • RS 20017 - Relating to internal revenue code, property tax relief. Clarifies income computation for "legally separated."
  • RS 20019C1 - Makes technical corrections to the cigarette & tobacco taxes.
  • RS 20020C1 - Relating to income taxes. Makes corrections to HB 382 passed in 2010.
  • RS 20025 - Relating to sales tax. Clarifies that airplanes used in Idaho are transient equipment.
  • RS 20026 - Relating to fuels tax. Clarifies canceling a distributor's license when they fail to comply with bonding requirements.
  • RS 20027C1 - Eliminates requirement to do a forest management cost study every 5 years.
  • RS 20028C1 - Makes technical corrections to motor fuel tax. Adds ethanol and natural gasoline into the language to make sure that they are captured. Also makes changes to the method of measurement.
  • RS 20047 - Relating to property taxes. Cleans up the language to make sure it is clear that over $1 billion in investment, only $400 million would be subject to tax.

The full House Revenue and Taxation Committee will not meet tomorrow morning at 8:30am, allowing time for the Collins subcommittee to review administrative rules. Chairman Lake noted that he intends for the full committee to meet again on Wednesday January 19th.

January 13, 2011

The House Revenue and Taxation Committee met this morning to hear a presentation from Dan John with the Idaho State Tax Commission. The presentation covered personal income tax deductions, business income tax credits and credit recapture. Additionally, Chairman Lake mentioned that the committee would not hold a meeting on Tuesday the 18th to allow the Collins sub-committee to cover proposed rule changes. The House Revenue and Taxation Committee will not be holding a meeting tomorrow; the next meeting will be Monday the 17th at 9:00am.

January 12, 2011

This morning the House and Senate Education committees held a joint hearing in the west wing auditorium of the capital to hear from Superintendent Tom Luna and his plans to reform Idaho's education system. Superintendent Luna discussed the plan as moving Idaho's education system into the 21st century with three key pillars to success. The first being the 21st century classroom focusing on technology in the classroom to complement the Idaho Education Network. Superintendent Luna discussed that every 9th grade student would receive a laptop beginning in the fall of 2012 allowing districts to expand their virtual learning.

The second pillar was Great Teachers and Leaders, which discussed the importance of effective teachers and principals in every school in the state. This pillar also covered Reduction in Force practices, changes to the way that teachers contracts are handled, teacher and administrator evaluations being tied to student achievement, and that collective bargaining agreements may not extend beyond a fiscal year.

The third pillar in the presentation was Transparent Accountability, mainly focusing on transparency in school districts with regards to finances, salary negotiations and teacher evaluations. This section also touched on the discussion of district consolidation and funding for dual credit for students. for more information about Superintendent Luna's proposal, please visit the Department of Education Website to view the full presentation.

Superintendent Luna also held a press conference this afternoon with Governor Butch Otter at the Department of Education to further discuss the details of the plan. KTVB Channel 7 provided some video coverage of the discussion from this mornings hearing.

December 3, 2010

The 2011 Legislative Session will convene on January 10th. Please return to the Idaho Chamber Alliance website for reports and legislative updates at that time.
For information about new leadership in the Senate, click here. For information about new leadership in the House, click here. To learn about the new Senate committee assignments, click here. To learn about the new House committee assignments, click here.