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House committee introduces all 29 new bills on agenda as Idaho Legislature returns

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The sun rises over the Idaho State Capitol on Nov. 15 shortly before the Idaho Legislature reconvened. (Clark Corbin/Idaho Capital Sun)

Senate State Affairs Committee also scheduled to introduce new bills

The action started with a flourish shortly after 7:30 a.m. when the Idaho Legislature reconvened the longest legislative session in state history Monday at the Statehouse.

House Majority Leader Mike Moyle, R-Star, successfully pushed for the introduction of all 29 draft bills on the House Ways and Means Committee’s agenda.

Many sought to ban vaccine requirements, prohibit state and local government employees from enforcing federal actions related to immunizations that “violate the Idaho or U.S. Constitution,” limit what could be disclosed from employees’ medical histories, make it so proof of vaccination is not required for services or employment, provide new exemptions from mandates for school children, prohibit mask mandates or allow mandates only for FDA-approved vaccines.

But other bills touched on an array of different subjects from creating a new litigation fund to “fight federal overreach,” to adopting new content standards for Idaho’s K-12 public schools and providing licensing protections for medical personnel who provide prescriptions for “off-label drugs.”

In the weeks leading up to the session, House Speaker Scott Bedke, R-Oakley, said he would ask legislators to limit proposing new bills to issues surrounding vaccines. At the time, he said everything else could wait until the regular 2022 session convenes on Jan. 10.

But during Monday’s Ways and Means Committee meeting, Moyle said each of the 29 bills had “blood, sweat and tears” behind them and deserved to be introduced and given a bill number.

Introducing the bills clears the ways for each of them to get a public hearing.

Although the Idaho Senate adjourned the longest session in state history on May 12 after 122 days, the Idaho House of Representatives voted down a motion to adjourn and instead voted to go into an extended recess.

The Senate State Affairs Committee introduced seven other new bills on Monday morning, bringing the total number of new bills introduced to 36.

The Idaho Capital Sun is a nonprofit news organization delivering accountability reporting on state government, politics and policy in the Gem state.