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HB 169: Federalism Committee — 2019

Summary: HB 169 would form a two-year committee to review federal laws and regulations.

ICL's position: Oppose

Current Bill Status: Law

Issue Areas: Other

Official Legislative Site

House Bill 169, sponsored by Rep. Jason Monks (R-Nampa), seeks to establish a two-year interim committee to review any federal laws, acts or regulations, to ensure they are consistent with the U.S. Constitution and “principles of federalism.”

This committee would provide a new way for the Idaho Legislature to push back against federal actions, laws and regulations that they disagree with. Four members from the Senate and four from the House will decide whether these federal acts are consistent with the Constitution, or if they violate their definition of federalism. The problem is Rep. Monks and others in the state legislature have voted for a number of measures over the years that have been found, by federal courts and/or the Idaho Attorney General’s office, to be unconstitutional themselves. Basically, the committee will provide another hammer to rail against the federal government. How well has that worked in the past?

The bill authorizes the committee to hire outside counsel and consultants, but estimates the fiscal impact at only $10,000 to $15,000. This disregards the fact that interim committees generally cost $10,000 to $15,000/year when they don’t hire outside counsel. In 2013, the Federal Lands Interim Committee spent $50,000/year, five times as much as they anticipated.

The bill was amended to strike the authorization to hire outside counsel, and authorized the co-chairs of the committee to establish subcommittees related to education, transportation, public lands, agriculture or other topics.