Promoting county interests, advocating good public policy
and providing education to Idaho's county officials

Final Legislative Bulletin

From the Director

The Idaho Legislature wrapped up its work approving legislation on Friday. Legislators will remain in Boise until Wednesday, March 28th in the event that they need to take action on legislation vetoed by the Governor. As you may recall, one of the outcomes from last year’s Supreme Court decision on the Governor’s veto of the grocery tax exemption was that the Governor has five days (excluding Sunday) to take action on legislation transmitted to his office. Failure to sign or veto legislation within the five-day window will result in the legislation becoming law without his signature. This also requires the legislature to remain in session for those five days so it can override any gubernatorial veto. This has made for a lengthened legislative session without a lot of activity. To fill time, legislative interim committees are scheduled to hold organizational meetings; however, no decision making will occur.

Overall, IAC was successful in advocating for the membership’s legislative priorities. As of today, five of IAC’s legislative priorities have been signed by the Governor and will become law on July 1, 2018. The five IAC legislative priorities signed by the Governor include:

  • House Bill 499 establishing new records retention requirements for body camera and other law enforcement media recordings,
  • Senate Bill 1228 reducing the minimum age of poll workers from 17 to 16,
  • Senate Bill 1229 allowing early voting plans to be submitted once a year rather than prior to each election,
  • Senate Bill 1230 clarifying that delinquent tax payments must be applied to the most outstanding tax delinquency, and
  • Senate Bill 1231 clarifying how late payments and interest are applied to missed and subsequent property rolls.

Additionally, IAC worked with stakeholders from the Association of Idaho Cities and the Administrative Office of the Court to secure nearly $9 million in ongoing funding for magistrate courts. The funding will be phased in over a five-year period and grow over time as state liquor fund revenues increase. IAC also worked jointly with the Idaho Sheriffs Association to secure additional state funding to house state inmates in county jails. The fee will increase from $45 a day to $55 a day for the first seven days and $75 a day for every day thereafter. The fee increase will result in over $6 million in increased funding from the state for county sheriffs’ offices.

Unfortunately, not all IAC priorities became law. House Bill 420 (allowing online public notice in lieu of newspaper public notice) and House Bill 555 (increasing the justice levy to .0025) failed to advance out of the House. IAC will continue to work with the membership and legislators in the interim to find a path forward for these two important priorities.

On the federal front, counties across the county received welcomed news last week. Early Friday morning, Congress enacted an omnibus spending bill including funding for both PILT and SRS. As part of the funding package, PILT will be fully funded for 2018. Counties can expect their full PILT payment later this summer. SRS will be funded for both 2017 (retroactive) and 2018. The 2017 SRS payment will be transmitted to counties later this spring. Counties can expect the 2017 payment to be 95% of the payment received in 2015. Counties can also expect an amount equal to the 25% payment recently transmitted to be deducted from their 2017 SRS payment. The 2018 payment will be transmitted sometime between December 2018 and February 2019. The 2018 payment will be 95% of the 2017 payment.

As the legislative session wraps up for the year, our work as counties is just beginning. We expect a busy summer. IAC expects to be involved in negotiations with legislators and other stakeholders on a variety of policy topics that will come to the legislature in 2019, including:

  • Caseload standards for public defenders,
  • Funding and oversight of public defense,
  • Repeal of the business personal property tax,
  • Campaign finance reform,
  • Election consolidation,
  • Sales tax revenue sharing distribution formula,
  • Transportation funding, and
  • Overweight trucks.

If you are interested in working on any of the above issues, please reach out to me via email (sgrigg@idcounties.org).

Finally, don’t forget that IAC will be hosting a one-day legislative review and county budgeting workshop in three locations starting next week. The dates and locations (along with links to the registration page) are below. I hope to see everyone at the meetings.

April 4: Weiser
April 11: Chubbuck
May 3: Moscow