It was quite a week at the Idaho Statehouse. Conflict over the budgeting process continued to roil the legislature, resulting in the removal of Rep. Megan Blanksma as House Majority Leader. Earlier today, the House voted in Jason Monks (R-Nampa) as Majority Leader. Both the Senate and the House did start passing “maintenance” budgets, and just today the budget committee began considering supplemental and new items to be added later. It’s confusing legislators, staff, the Governor, and constituents alike.

Despite the dustup over how the budget is considered and approved, committees were churning through the introduction of bills. There were another 40 bills introduced today, on the supposed “Bill Introduction” deadline. The reality is that a number of committees are still allowed to introduce bills, so there will be more coming. And chances are the legislature won’t meet its target Adjournment Date of March 22. With primary elections looming, there’s chatter they could adjourn, and then return in the summer to finish their work? 

Speaking of bills, on Tuesday the Pesticide Manufacturers Immunity bill was considered by the Senate Commerce Committee. ICL testified against the bill alongside advocates for farm workers, legal experts, and others who have been impacted by pesticides, including a resident of North Fork, Idaho (north of Salmon) who spoke about his frustration after a helicopter sprayed his property, crops, and fields with an herbicide. In the end, the bill passed out of committee on a 5-3 vote, and the Senate vote is likely this week. Take Action on the bill below!


Oftentimes it’s those personal stories from regular Idahoans that can have the most impact. That’s why I was pleased to offer a whirlwind legislative update for ICL supporters last week. If you missed it, you can watch the recording

Bills, bills, and more bills

It was a bustling week as legislators proposed a wide array of bills in committees on both sides of the rotunda. Just on issues related to land and wildlife, we saw action related to Navigational Encroachments, Timber Sale Litigation Bonds, Grazing Permits, Quagga Mussel Funding, Poaching, Livestock-Predator Conflict, Public Rights-of-Way, False Pesticide Reports, Allowing Tribes to Purchase Lands (yes, they accidentally made it illegal last year), Hiring In-House Counsel for the Idaho Department of Lands, Rangeland Improvement Districts, and Agricultural Protection Areas, as well as changes proposed to Elk Farm Quarantines and two bills dealing with Deer, Elk, Moose, and Muzzleloader Regulations. Keep an eye on the ICL Bill Tracker as we are doing our best to keep up!

Also, on Thursday, Rep. Heather Scott (R-Blanchard) proposed a bill to further limit cannibalism in Idaho. Idaho already has a law making cannibalism illegal (anyone remember the “Satanic Panic” of the 1980s?). Part of the rationale for the bill is Rep. Scott once saw a cooking show video on a plane of a chef purportedly serving human flesh. Apparently she didn’t watch to the end when it was revealed to be a prank. For those who may have forgotten, this is the same legislator who was reprimanded in her first week on the job back in 2017 for disabling her smoke detector because she thought it was a spy camera. You can’t make this stuff up…

Amidst all that, thankfully they still found time to discuss Administrative Rules for Self-Propelled Snowplows. Phew!

An air tractor spraying pesticide. USFS photo.

Pesticide manufacturers immunity bill

A bill from Sen. Mark Harris (R-Soda Springs) and others would grant broad immunity to pesticide manufacturers, so long as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has approved their product for use. On Tuesday, despite opposition testimony from ICL, the Northwest Center for Alternatives to Pesticides, the Idaho Trial Lawyers Association, and concerned Idahoans, the bill advanced to the Senate floor where it awaits a vote.

Despite the fact that 4 out of 9 members of the committee were bill cosponsors, it only passed by a 5-3 margin, with Senators Brian Lenney (R-Nampa) and Dan Foreman (R-Viola) joining Sen. Janie Ward-Engelking (D-Boise) voting No.

One of the problems highlighted by the bill is that EPA has been accused of ignoring best-available-science in their approval of pesticides. Some of that research has found links between exposure to certain commonly used pesticides and cancer, harms to brain development, and other negative effects. And the EPA has approved pesticides that many other nations ban. Just last week, a federal judge yanked their approval of the pesticide dicamba.

Ironically, one of the most commonly banned pesticides is produced by the Chinese-state owned company Syngenta, whose parent company is the China National Chemical Corporation. Some studies have linked Paraquat exposure to Parkinson’s disease, and it’s considered “acutely toxic.” That’s why 58 countries ban it, including China

If this bill passes, the State of Idaho would grant legal immunity to the China National Chemical Corporation, and the makers of 16,000 other pesticides that are approved for use in the U.S.  Ask the legislature to protect Idahoans not pesticide manufacturers by Taking Action Today!


Elk Farm bill stymies disease prevention efforts

On Thursday, Rep. Jerald Raymond (R-Menan) introduced a bill that would shift certain Administrative Rules for captive elk farms into statute. It also changes some of the definitions that could threaten to spread disease. The rules are designed to contain and monitor for Chronic Wasting Disease, a disease fatal to deer and elk. In the past, ICL has been critical of the rules that only require testing of 10% of the elk that are killed. This year’s bill is specific to quarantine rules, when elk may be imported from a CWD-positive facility.

Unfortunately, in 2023 that’s exactly what happened.

According to public records released to ICL in February 2024 from the Idaho State Department of Agriculture (ISDA), Broadmouth Canyon Ranch and Rocky Mountain Elk Ranch (both located in Eastern Idaho) were informed that CWD was found on the Alberta elk farms where 153 elk were sourced. According to ISDA rules, that means their facilities are under quarantine, and 100% of the animals that die or are killed must be tested for CWD. 

Instead of locking in rules now, the legislature should wait to see how things play out and give the ISDA the flexibility they need to protect Idaho’s wildlife.

Tie of the week!

As I noted in the opener, oftentimes it’s the stories from everyday Idahoans that can have the most impact. This week’s tie is dedicated to two citizens who testified on the pesticide bill. Bill’s from North Fork. He and his wife are veterans, and chose to live on the border of the expansive Salmon-Challis National Forest near Salmon. What they didn’t plan for was when their private property, orchards, and fields (nor their neighbors) were sprayed with a toxic herbicide from a helicopter. Shannon from Pocatello also testified and shared her personal concerns with the bill as well. They shared personal stories with the Senate Commerce Committee, expressing frustration with the bill, the lack of thorough investigations, along with the failure of this bill to protect Idahoans. After all, it’s the People’s House, and People Give Us Power, so for my TOTW, I give you… the People Power Tie!


Until next week…Esto Perpetua,