Maybe it’s because it’s so late in the session, but there seem to be a lot of second thoughts bouncing around the Statehouse. The House today reconsidered two bills that it voted on yesterday, again passing one, and passing the other even though yesterday it killed it. The Senate today voted to reconsider its earlier vote on a constitutional amendment, out of deference to minority leaders who weren’t present when the bill was brought up the first time.
The House’s first reconsideration today was on HB 451, legislation to allow county records to be retained digitally and original paper copies destroyed. Yesterday, the bill passed the House, 59-11, but House Majority Caucus Chairman John Vander Woude, R-Nampa, served notice that he’d ask for reconsideration. He could only do that because he voted on the prevailing side – in favor of the bill.
When it came up again today, Vander Woude said he’s uncomfortable with destroying the paper copies. “I tore down an old house on old house on property that I bought, and I found a newspaper in there that was from 1933, the Nampa Press-Tribune,” he told the House. “That original document has a lot more value than if I go on digital to look at what that newspaper said and read it online. When we start destroying documents, I think we destroy a lot of what we had and what was valuable.” He added, “How many of you have had computers crash, where you can’t access the document any more?”
Rep. Hy Kloc, D-Boise, the bill’s House sponsor, said, “The purpose of this legislation is to update county public records and bring them into the 21st Century, by digitizing paper records.” He noted, “These are for county offices, and right now, court records and land records are already done this way. They’re already digitized and stored and the paper records are destroyed.” This time, the bill passed 49-21, picking up more opponents than it had yesterday, but still passing easily. Among those switching from supporting to opposing: Rep. Lawerence Denney, R-Midvale, who is running for Secretary of State. The bill was brought by Deputy Ada County Clerk Phil McGrane, who also is running for Secretary of State; the two are among four candidates facing off in the GOP primary.
The other reconsiderations today included HB 593, legislation from Rep. Lance Clow, R-Twin Falls, to set up a tax relief account to collect any taxes that come in on online sales; it was narrowly killed yesterday, but passed today. And in the Senate, SJR103a would amend the Idaho Constitution to update archaic language regarding militia service.