Did Idaho's lawmakers accomplish their goals this year?

Posted at 4:18 PM, Mar 26, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-26 18:45:28-04

It took just 74 days for the Idaho Legislature to finish most of their business for the 2018 session. 

"When the legislature came here, they had three goals," College of Idaho professor of political economy Jasper Licalzi said. "One, keep it short. They wanted the session to be short so they could get out and run." 

All 105 of Idaho's legislators are up for election this year. 

"Two, they wanted to vote on popular things," Licalzi said. "The popular things are tax cuts." 

Two separate bills passed by lawmakers will add up to $225 million in tax cuts for Idahoans. The plans reduce personal and corporate income tax rates, as well as include a $205 Idaho child tax credit

"The third thing is not to vote on controversial issues," Licalzi said. 

A bill that would help provide health care coverage for roughly 35,000 people in Idaho's health care gap was shot down twice. Each time, House lawmakers avoided debate on the merits of the health care bill, and, instead, voted to send the proposal back to the House Health & Welfare Committee. 

"From a legislators standpoint, they found this a very successful session because they got done what they wanted to get done," Licalzi said. 

Lawmakers also approved new permanent K-12 public school science standards, passed a proposal exempting breastfeeding mothers from indecent exposure laws and codified existing stand your ground case laws. 

"I think next year is when you'll see some big changes with a new governor, new lieutenant governor," Licalzi said. "This was more about things that aren't that controversial. Let's keep people from driving in the left hand lane. That's something everyone can get behind."

Idaho Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter signed into law a proposal making it illegal for anyone driving in the left lane of a controlled-access freeway to impede the flow of the traffic in that lane.

Lawmakers are now waiting for five days to see if Otter vetoes any of their proposals. The legislature is expected to officially adjourn by Wednesday or Thursday of this week.