Legislative Report--Week12-- April 2 2021
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Week 12 Idaho Legislative Update for March 29 – April 2, 2021
The twelfth week of the Sixty-Sixth Idaho Legislature's first regular session saw the second week of the Legislature's first-ever extended recess. The Idaho Legislature will reconvene this coming Tuesday, April 6, 2021, at noon. The Idaho Legislature used the recess to slow the spread of COVID 19 after several members and staff contracted it.
This week, we had in-person meetings with Legislative Leadership and the Governor. The meetings focused on the road map for the end of the session, including federal funding allocations, transportation, and tax relief as the big-ticket items that need to be addressed before the session concludes. Legislative leadership has outlined in meetings that committees will generally be shut down for the year while work continues on the aforementioned issues and those still on the reading calendars. The House and Senate both agreed to push toward "Sine Die" but with no guarantee on how long the session will last. The calendars for both bodies remain unchanged during recess. The Senate calendar currently has 78 bills to be addressed, and the House calendar has 68 bills to be dealt with. Both bodies are likely to have additional items introduced when they return.
As mentioned, transportation funding and tax relief continue to be top policy conversations that could prolong the session if consensus cannot be reached between the House, Senate, and Governor. With these being marked as topics that must be addressed before the end of the session, bills may be fast-tracked through the House when they return. This may leave little time for input from the public on the biggest issues of the session.
As stated in last week's report, the Joint Finance and Appropriations Committee (JFAC) will be working through supplemental appropriations and federal funding allocations when the Legislature returns. The U.S. Treasury guidelines are being updated at the federal level and handed down to the state, but it is unclear how long this process will take. Portions of the federal funds that can be allocated by the state because they already have guidance and mandates attached are expected to move fast when the Legislature reconvenes. All federal funds have an extended use date of 2024 so there is also a strong likelihood that the remaining funds will be placed in a dedicated state fund to be dispersed during and after next session.
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 and through our weekly policy updates. We look forward to getting back into session next week and closing out what has been a contentious and difficult session. We will continue to remain engaged in the process on your behalf for the duration of the session.
Extended policy reports will resume at the end of the week 13 Update.