Boise Highlights

Controversial Issues Surface As Idaho’s Legislative Session Begins

The+first+half+of+Idaho%27s+legislative+session+has+brought+more+controversial+bills+than+usual+this+year.+
The first half of Idaho's legislative session has brought more controversial bills than usual this year.

The first half of Idaho's legislative session has brought more controversial bills than usual this year.

Photo Credit: Idaho Legislature

Photo Credit: Idaho Legislature

The first half of Idaho's legislative session has brought more controversial bills than usual this year.

Alex Swerdloff, Social Media Editor

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






Usually, the first half of Idaho’s legislative session is decidedly more businesslike than the second. Bills proposed are concerned with practical matters; bipartisan collaboration is more common. More controversial bills and partisan tensions usually don’t surface until the spring.

But there’s an exception to every rule. Though only a few weeks of the session have passed, it’s already clear that this year, controversial bills aren’t waiting for March. Some speculate that this is the result of heightened political tensions as what is shaping up to be an unpredictable gubernatorial race looms on the horizon. No matter the cause, one thing’s for sure: many of the bills that have been introduced would have a direct impact on the lives of Boise High students.

Science Standards

The debate over school science standards was rekindled with legislation in the House Education Committee that would make information on climate change a part of Idaho’s science education standards. Debate and community testimony over the bill prompted some controversial statements from lawmakers, including Representative Scott Syme’s proclamation that he doesn’t care if students “come up with a conclusion that the earth is flat–as long as it’s their conclusion, not something that’s told to them.”

Whether or not students will be able to come to those conclusions is still up for debate. Legislators postponed an official vote on the standards until they have heard the rest of the public’s testimony.

 

Underage Smoking

Currently, it is legal for eighteen-year-olds to purchase and smoke cigarettes in the state of Idaho. A bill introduced in the Senate State Affairs Committee would change that, making it illegal to purchase tobacco until the age of 21. Supporters, like Senator Fred Martin, say that this will decrease addiction, as research shows that 95% of smokers begin before age 21. Tobacco and e-cigarette retailers have pushed back on the measure, saying that it interferes with consumer’s personal lives and choices.

 

Healthcare

 

New bills bring the national debate over how healthcare should be provided and funded to Idaho. Our state has received national attention over an executive order that allows insurance providers to break the rules of the Affordable Care Act by doing things like deny coverage for some pre-existing conditions and remove benefits like maternity leave. Many have complained that the move is contrary to federal law, and places an undue burden on those with such conditions.

 

Constitutional Convention

 

Perhaps the bill with the most wide-reaching implications is one that has surfaced in the House State Affairs Committee. This bill would add Idaho to a list of 28 states calling for a Constitutional Convention to amend our country’s constitution; those advocating for such a convention need 34 states to succeed. The bill has been denounced by many on both sides of the political aisle, and a protest against the convention in January pulled a diverse crowd that included union activists, women’s rights supporters, and guns’ rights groups. Progressives worry that the convention could be used to take away civil rights like same-sex marriage or abortion; many of their conservative colleagues are also worried that the convention could erode civil liberties. Supporters insist that such a move is constitutional under Article V of the Constitution and that doing so is a more effective way to make change than waiting for bills to be passed in Congress.

 

The future of many of these bills is still uncertain, with votes and final decisions still pending. No matter what their fate is, the outcome will affect the lives of Boise High students and our friends and families–whether it’s our access to healthcare, our education, or our freedoms.

Leave a Comment

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.




Navigate Right
Navigate Left
  • Controversial Issues Surface As Idaho’s Legislative Session Begins

    Open Campus

    You Know The Place

  • Controversial Issues Surface As Idaho’s Legislative Session Begins

    Open Campus

    The Downtown Dilemma

  • Controversial Issues Surface As Idaho’s Legislative Session Begins

    Open Campus

    What Treefort is Bringing Us 2018

  • Controversial Issues Surface As Idaho’s Legislative Session Begins

    Open Campus

    New, Unprecedented Growth Makes Its Way To Idaho

  • Controversial Issues Surface As Idaho’s Legislative Session Begins

    Open Campus

    Valentines and Veterans

  • Controversial Issues Surface As Idaho’s Legislative Session Begins

    Open Campus

    Fear, Anxiety, And Hope For Boise’s DACA Recipients

  • Controversial Issues Surface As Idaho’s Legislative Session Begins

    Humor

    April Horoscopes

  • Controversial Issues Surface As Idaho’s Legislative Session Begins

    Student Life

    How to Become A Better You

  • Controversial Issues Surface As Idaho’s Legislative Session Begins

    Arts & Entertainment

    “Breaking Cement”

  • Controversial Issues Surface As Idaho’s Legislative Session Begins

    Open Campus

    You Know The Place

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






The Student News Site of Boise High School
Controversial Issues Surface As Idaho’s Legislative Session Begins