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HB 727: Federal Nullification – 2022

Summary: HB 727 would unconstitutionally allow the state to nullify federal regulations that go beyond its definition of constitutionality.

ICL's position: Oppose

Current Bill Status: Dead

Issue Areas: Clean Air, Clean Water, Constitution, Fish and Wildlife, Public Lands, State Issues

Official Legislative Site

Rep. Sage Dixon (R- Ponderay) introduced House Bill 727 in the House State Affairs Committee.

This bill would supposedly allow the state to nullify federal regulations that “go beyond the powers enumerated to the federal government,” which is clearly inconsistent with the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution.

HB 727 would create a procedure for any Idaho legislator to issue a complaint to the Federalism Committee. If the committee finds a federal regulation, executive order, policy directives or court ruling is “outside of the scope of federal authority or is contrary to the constitution of the state of Idaho,” legislation will be introduced to nullify the force and effect of that law, regulation, or ruling.

It is unclear how HB 727 would impact state agencies, many of which are funded primarily with federal dollars, to implement programs like the Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act, fish and wildlife programs, environmental cleanup, etc. If Idaho refuses to follow federal rules, that funding could go away, and our rivers, public lands, fish and wildlife, air, and other resources will suffer for it.

What is clear is that the measure is so clearly unconstitutional that we are skeptical it will actually ever be enacted. 

In 2021, the Senate State Affairs Committee rejected a similar bill on a 6-3 vote. We’ll see whether the bill gets a hearing this year.