Democrat-sponsored legislation takes effect. On July 1, numerous bills passed by the Idaho legislature in 2019 took effect.

The following legislation, spearheaded by Democrats, are among the bills now effective:

  • First Responder: Representative Mat Erpelding/(D-Boise) led the effort to pass the First Responder bill. The new law will allow first responders to get workers compensation for treatment for psychological trauma. Legislative co-sponsors include Sen. Janie Ward-Engelking/(D-Boise), Sen. Cherie Buckner-Webb/(D-Boise), Sen. Michelle Stennett/(D-Ketchum), Rep. Jake Ellis/(D-Boise), Rep. Ilana Rubel/(D-Boise), and Rep. Brooke Green/(D-Boise).
  • Pet-Friendly License Plate: Rep. Melissa Wintrow/(D-Boise) teamed up with former Rep. Kloc to pass legislation that creates a pet-friendly license plate. The sales from the plate will fund low-cost spay and neutering. 
  • Test All: Rep. Wintrow also spearheaded legislation that requires that all sexual assault kits be tested. From now on, there will only be extremely rare exceptions to testing. Legislative co-sponsors include Sen. Grant Burgoyne/(D-Boise), Sen. Mark Nye/(D-Pocatello), Rep. Muffy Davis/(D-Hailey), and Rep. John McCrostie/(D-Boise).
  • Solar Panels: Rep. Rubel passed legislation that stops Homeowners Associations from unreasonably restricting the use of solar panels. A homeowner will now have the right to choose solar energy for their home. Sen. Burgoyne carried the legislation on the Senate floor.
  • Wage Theft: Rep. Erpelding passed legislation that gives workers the ability to claim stolen wages for a year after it was unpaid. This will make it easier for workers to get the money they have earned. 
  • Historic Theaters: Rep. Erpelding also spearheaded legislation that will allow theaters to sell beer and wine. This will help to revitalize many small communities that rely on the theater for entertainment. Legislative co-sponsors include Sen. Nelson/(D-Moscow), Rep. Wintrow, and Rep. Sally Toone/(D-Gooding). 
  • Legend Drug Donation: Rep. Sue Chew/(D-Boise) passed a bill that allows Idahoans to donate their unused prescription medications. The bill does not include opioids. The bill was sponsored on the Senate floor by Sen. Maryanne Jordan/(D-Boise).
  • Appropriations: Sen. Janie Ward-Engelking sponsored several budget bills including the appropriations for K-12 education, the Hispanic Commission, and the Art Commission. 
  • Naxolone: Sen. David Nelson sponsored a bill that allows for easier access to opioid overdose antidotes. The drugs can be quickly administered to someone having an opioid overdose to save their life. Rep. Jake Ellis helped to pass the legislation. 
  • E-Bike: Sen. David Nelson led the effort to pass a bill that clarifies the definition of e-bikes. This clarification in Idaho code will allow for cities, counties, and the state to better regulate their use.  
  • Move Over: Rep. John McCrostie sponsored a bill that requires motorists to slow down and move over for tow truck drivers and highway incident response. The law will help to save the lives of hardworking Idahoans who work on our busiest roads. 

 “Idaho Democrats fought tooth and nail to pass meaningful legislation this year,” Sen. Buckner-Webb said. “We did our research, consulted with stakeholders, and showed up on the floor to make sure that we could make a difference for Idahoans.”

State seeks nominees for recreation and tourism award. Nominations are now open for outstanding lifetime achievement in the fields of Idaho recreation and tourism. Gov. Brad Little will select and recognize a nominated individual who has made significant contributions to developing, managing or conserving Idaho’s recreation resources, or developing, managing or promoting tourism in Idaho. The award will be presented during the Idaho Conference on Recreation and Tourism.

The annual conference is sponsored by recreation and tourism-related organizations and partners to provide an educational forum for public, private and non-profit travel and recreation professionals throughout Idaho. This year’s conference will be held October 21-23 at the Sun Valley Inn in Sun Valley, Idaho.

Nominations for the 2019 Governor’s Lifetime Achievement Award will be accepted through Wednesday, Sept. 4. Contact Laurie McConnell at 208.287.0781 or visit the website to download a nomination form. 

Go to VisitIdaho.org to plan your vacation.

Test All legislation takes effect.  On July 1, legislation championed by Rep. Melissa Wintrow that requires the state to Test All sexual assault kits took effect. From now on, all sexual assault kits will be tested with only very rare exceptions. For example, anonymous kits aren’t processed right away but are preserved for at least 10 years in case the survivor decides to come forward after the assault. The legislation was passed during the 2019 legislative session with only one “nay” vote in the House.

Rep. Wintrow explained her excitement in seeing the law finally take effect: “The Test All law is the culmination of several years of collaboration with multiple groups including the Idaho Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence and the Idaho State Police Forensic Services. This legislation was the fourth law to pass since 2016, transforming how Idaho processes, tracks, and preserves sexual assault evidence. More DNA profiles entered into the national DNA database means it’s possible to catch more serial offenders and bring more people to justice.”

Rep. Wintrow has worked closely with Matthew Gamette (Idaho State Police Forensic Services Laboratory System Director), Annie Hightower (Policy Director at the Idaho Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence), and Chief Craig Kingsbury from the Twin Falls Police Department for the last several years.