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The Legislature is full of surprises. This year, the House was the first to “let one out of the bag”; the bill to “ban bag bans” cleared the House and is headed to a Senate committee.

Bagging Local Control

Legislators are quick to defend local control-until they disagree with local decisions. Rep. Clark Kauffman (R-Filer) and Sen. Jim Patrick (R-Twin Falls) want to take authority from cities or counties to prohibit or tax the use of plastic bags, bottles, or Styrofoam containers.

On Wednesday the bill passed the House and will be considered by a Senate committee. If you want local governments to make such decisions, contact your senator. And yes, a plastic bag facility is located in Kauffman and Patrick’s district. Go figure…

Fish Consumption Rule Sails On

The House Environment, Energy and Technology Committee considered the fish consumption rule this week. ICL opposes the rule and testified that it doesn’t go far enough to protect public health.  But the Environment Committee still approved it. Only Reps. Ilana Rubel  (D-Boise) and Paulette Jordan (D-Plummer) voted against the rule.

Fortunately, the EPA still has to approve the rule. The agency is already concerned with the disproportionate effect on Idaho’s Native Americans. If the EPA doesn’t approve the rule, it will develop a replacement that better protects Idaho’s water and public health.

Flat Earth Society Flattens Science Rules

Revised rules that update public schools’ science curricula were rejected by the House Education Committee. Members were concerned about the inclusion of global climate change, age of the Earth, evolution, formation of the solar system and other “controversial” theories.

While the Legislature fiddles about whether climate change is manmade, the rest of the world recognizes that humans’ impacts on the earth has ushered in the Anthropocene Era.

Tie of the Week!

My tie recognizes one of the Legislature’s jobs-to pass a budget.  The Joint Finance and Appropriations Committee considered budget  requests from several state agencies, including the Departments of Parks  and Recreation, Water Resources, Fish and Game, and Environmental  Quality, as well as the Offices of Species Conservation and Energy  Resources.

While the final budgets tend to come in below the Governor’s request, discussions this week do not lead us to expect any earth shaking cuts.

Oh, and the House passed a $28 million tax cut this week.

Until next week. Esto perpetua…