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HB 279: Federalism Committee – 2021

Summary: HB 279 would permanently extend the Federalism Committee that was established in 2019.

ICL's position: Oppose

Current Bill Status: Governor's Desk

Issue Areas: State Issues

Official Legislative Site

Rep. Judy Boyle (R-Middleton) introduced House Bill 279 this week in the House State Affairs Committee. The bill would permanently extend the Federalism Committee that was established in 2019.

The committee has failed to produce a single report and instead was described by the sponsor as a forum for citizens to have their voices heard.  The committee was set to expire on June 30, 2021, but HB 274 would make it permanent. Somehow it’s only expected to cost taxpayers $15,000 to fund it forever. To boot, the existing law requires the committee to meet twice a year, and in 2020 they only met once. It’s a 2-year-old law, they’ve already violated it, and now want to make it permanent?

According to the bill passed in 2019, the committee was to “evaluate whether federal acts, laws and regulations are authorized by the United States Constitution or if they violate the principles of federalism.” Instead, it’s being used to advance projects like the $250,000 “pilot program” to study federal land payments.

Representatives 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, to be unconstitutional. Basically, the permanent committee will provide another hammer to rail against the federal government. How well has that worked in the past?