This Session started off much more quickly than it has in past years. Usually, we would have time to organize our Committees, meet with other legislators to discuss ideas, and start to prepare legislation. This year, legislation was already drafted and in Committees the second day of Session. This was mainly due to the state’s response to the COVID crisis, and the way most in the legislature felt that we were left out of a process that affected all Idahoans. Work on legislation to correct this relationship began after House and Senate Majority Caucus meetings held in the late Spring/ early Summer, and resulted in legislative working groups with many discussions being held in order to craft the best legislation.
The Bills to limit executive authority and allow the legislature to call itself back in session are working their way through the system and should be heard on the floor of each body soon. There are also many other bills being prepared that will put a finer point on some of the larger ideas contained in the main bills such as defining religious organizations as essential businesses, protecting parental rights, and forbidding the requirement of vaccinations for employment or to enter businesses. The difficulty is crafting something that will pass the Senate, as well as have enough votes to override a possible veto. This is the delicate balance our system requires, and is how a representative republic functions.
Upcoming issues will include: Transportation funding with both the Governor and the House proposing plans to increase funding for both the State and local entities. Bills addressing property tax issues, as well as revisiting sales tax on groceries again. There is also talk of lowering our income tax rates once more. I am most excited about the multiple drafts I have seen that are an attempt to strengthen Federalism, and position our state to uphold the tenets of our Constitution against what we will likely face with the new Presidential Administration.
This is likely to be a busy session with many large topics being addressed along with the standard “clean up” bills and traditional legislation. I am hopeful that we will not have to take an extended recess due to health concerns, and expect that we will leave our state well positioned to manage our population growth and sustain our growing economy.
Revenue and Taxation:
We held an introductory meeting and were presented with an overview of taxation in the state.
Transportation & Defense:
No meeting was held this week
No meeting was held this week.
I encourage you to contact me with any questions or concerns, and I am grateful for the opportunity to represent District 1 in The Idaho House of Representatives.
Sage G. Dixon