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House lawmakers pass multiple bills on second day back at statehouse

House State Affairs Committee
Posted at 1:29 PM, Nov 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-17 11:22:38-05

BOISE, Idaho — Tuesday marks day two of the Idaho Legislature's return to the statehouse and day 310 of the 2021 legislative session.

Lawmakers got to work bright and early when the House gaveled in around 8 a.m. Shortly after, the House went at ease so different House standing committees could meet and review proposed legislation from legislators.

Rep. Jason Monks
Rep. Jason Monks (R)-Meridian introduces HB417.

At 8:30 a.m., the House Judiciary, Rules and Administration Committee met where Rep. Jason Monks (R)-Meridian introduced H417.

According to the bill text, it "adds to existing law to provide that vaccine-related injuries shall be compensable and to provide for construction of the law in favor of compensation for the victims of such injuries."

This bill would apply to all vaccinations, not just the COVID-19 vaccine.

Public testimony was taken and the committee voted to move the bill to the House floor for debate with a do-pass recommendation.

“If there's an adverse consequence from that vaccination, then basic fairness says that employees should be compensated under workers compensation system,” Rep. John Gannon (D) Boise said on the house floor.
Later in the afternoon this bill passed the house 67-3, and will now move to the Senate.

Around 9:30 a.m., the House State Affairs Committee met to introduce three bills, H429, H412 and H414.

Rep. Ron Nate
Rep. Ron Nate (R)-Rexburg introduces HB429.

The first, H429 which relates to mask mandates in schools, was introduced by Rep. Ron Nate (R)-Rexburg.

"Now we have other medical interventions being required by schools and this bill simply extends that exemption possibility to mask mandates, or plexiglass barriers and it further points out that any student who receives such exemption, or submits such exemption shall be exempt," Nate told the committee.

One Boise High School student showed up at the committee hearing to testify against the bill.

“Wearing a mask does not hurt us or our social interactions. It's a way we stop the spread of COVID-19 and we would be unsafe going to school without masks," student Petra Hoffman said.

House bill 429 later passed the House 42-28.

Shortly after, H412, which would work to prohibit certain discrimination based upon immunization status, was introduced by Rep. Bruce Skaug (R)-Nampa. According to the statement of purpose, this bill is a "civil rights bill."

"To tell people at every level, including mothers that they have to hire somebody who is unvaccinated and can’t decide 'I want a vaccinated babysitter,' they can't do that because of the Idaho legislature has told them 'no, you have to hire someone who is unvaccinated even if you think it's unsafe and even if its something you don’t want to do,'" Rep. Ilana Rubel (D) Boise debated.

House Bill 412 passed the house 48-22.

Lastly, Rep. Mike Moyle (R)- Star introduced H414. The statement of purpose for the bill states, "the ability to claim an exemption based on religious beliefs is supported in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which permits an employee to request a religious or reasonable accommodation from an employer requirement that conflicts with their sincerely-held religious beliefs, practices, or observances."

This bill was met with some pushback by lawmakers.

“By attempting to elevate those things to religiosity, you don’t elevate them at all. You lower the sacredness of what it means to claim a religious exemption and what it means to have a sincerely held faith," Rep. Greg Chaney (R) Caldwell said.

All passed bills head to the senate.