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65-2 House vote backs removing lawmakers’ special exemption from wage garnishment

The Idaho House has voted 65-2 in favor of HB 510, which would remove a special exemption dating back to 1939 that protects elected officials and legislators from having their wages garnished due to state court rulings. “Elective officials should not enjoy any rights to avoid paying any debts or their taxes,” said Rep. Ed Morse, R-Hayden, the bill’s sponsor. “We can debate whether or not public officials should be held to a higher standard, or to the same standard as private citizens.” But he said it’s clear that the existing law grants them special privileges.

The only votes against the bill came from Reps. Vito Barbieri, R-Dalton Gardens, and Shannon McMillan, R-Silverton. The elected official exemption kept tax-protesting former state Rep. Phil Hart’s legislative wages from being garnished for back state taxes, but the exemption didn’t apply to federal garnishments, and the IRS garnished Hart’s entire legislative paycheck. The bill now moves to the Senate side.

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Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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