Idaho Legislative Report-Week 11 March 22-26
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Week 11 Idaho Legislative Update for March 22-26, 2021
The eleventh week of the sixty-sixth Idaho legislature's first regular session saw the Legislature in a first-ever extended recess. The Idaho Legislature will reconvene on April 6, 2021. The Idaho Legislature recessed as a result of several members and staff contracting COVID 19.
This week we had limited conversations with legislators about the plan going forward for the last weeks of the session. Legislative leadership has suggested the work is continuing to the extent it can in the recess, and the fervent push toward "Sine Die" will continue when the members returns to Boise. Meanwhile, the calendars for both bodies remain unchanged. The Senate calendar has 78 items remaining, and the House calendars have 68 items to be dealt with as well as other items that are likely to be introduced when they return from recess. Leadership has expressed the willingness to allow a select few bills pertaining to taxes and transportation funding to be introduced and move through committees when they return.
Transportation funding and tax relief continue to be the big-ticket items that will prolong the session if consensus cannot be reached between the House, Senate, and Governor. Some of the ideas surrounding these policies may be fast-tracked through the House when they return, leaving little time or input from the public on the biggest issues of the session. Legislators and the Governor have continued to suggest tax relief and transportation funding are the top priorities, but agreements on existing bills have yet to be reached.
When the Legislature returns, the Joint Finance and Appropriations Committee (JFAC) will be working through supplemental appropriations and federal funding allocations using the U.S. Treasury guidelines that are currently available. These allocations are expected to move fast. There is also a possibility of a dedicated fund being created for the monies to be placed in and dealt with next year, as the federal funds being allocated have an extended use date of 2024.
As always, bills from this session can be tracked through the Idaho State Legislative Website. You can also chart progress with the Governor's Bill Tracker. We will also keep you updated on legislation in real-time, with the understanding that some ideas and decisions could be discussed during the recess. We won't necessarily know about everything formally until the Legislature returns on April 6, 2021. However, we will continue to remain engaged to the extent we can without compromising safety and will contact you as needed during this unique situation.
Extended policy reports will resume at the end of the week 13 update.
No formal legislative actions can take place during the legislative recess.