by Logan Finney, Idaho Reports
The House State Affairs Committee introduced three pieces of legislation Wednesday morning related to COVID-19 vaccine requirements, moving the state border west, and the Office of Performance Evaluations.
All legislation introduced by the committee must receive a public hearing before moving forward.
Banning vaccine passports
Rep. Jason Monks, R-Meridian, presented a draft bill that would forbid state government from requiring coronavirus immunizations as a condition of employment, receiving government services, or entering government-controlled buildings.
The legislation mirrors a bill Monks sponsored last year that passed the House but did not progress in the Senate. That legislation was based in part on a 2021 executive order from Gov. Brad Little banning vaccine passports as a condition of accessing government services and buildings.
The committee had numerous questions for Monks, who indicated he still has a lot of work to do on specific aspects of the bill before it gains support from his fellow lawmakers.
Moving Idaho’s border
Rep. Judy Boyle, R-Midvale, and Rep. Barbara Ehardt, R-Idaho Falls, presented a memorial authorizing the Idaho Legislature and Oregon Legislature to begin discussions about moving the state boundary.
The Greater Idaho movement has gained attention in recent years as several eastern Oregon counties have passed votes supporting the idea. Both states’ legislatures and the U.S. Congress would have to agree to move the state border.
“Is it a long shot? Probably,” Boyle said. “But how will we know if we never start?”
Boyle argued that moving the border westward would increase Idaho’s tax base, stave off the flow of drugs legalized by the neighboring state, and allow eastern Oregonians to enjoy Idaho’s way of life without having to move here.
Moving control of OPE
House Majority Leader Rep. Megan Blanksma, R-Hammett, introduced a bill that would restructure control of the legislature’s Office of Performance Evaluations.
That office is currently overseen by the bipartisan Joint Legislative Oversight Committee, which is appointed by and reports to the Legislative Council. The bill would eliminate JLOC entirely and assign jurisdiction over OPE directly to the council.
Rep. John Gannon, D-Boise, said he is concerned about shifting control of nonpartisan performance reviews from a bipartisan committee to a majority-controlled committee – especially the Legislative Council, which includes members of House and Senate leadership.
Logan Finney | Associate Producer
Logan Finney is a North Idaho native with a passion for media production and boring government meetings. He grew up skiing, hunting and hiking in the mountains of Bonner County and has maintained a lifelong interest in the state’s geography, history and politics. Logan joined the Idaho Reports team in 2020 as a legislative session intern and stayed to cover the COVID-19 pandemic. He was hired as an associate producer in 2021 and they haven’t been able to get rid of him since.