Idaho Gov. Butch Otter signed 15 bills into law yesterday, including HB 547, which directs that cigarette tax receipts that now are going to pay off bonds on the state Capitol renovation will instead go to road work and water projects next year, once the bonds are paid off. Otter had originally recommended that the cigarette tax money go to fund the Medicaid program, but he never introduced legislation to do that; GOP legislative leaders pushed the roads-water split. The bill passed the House 63-4 and the Senate 33-1. Otter signed it without comment.
Other bills signed into law by Otter yesterday included HB 476, to restore employment supports for people with developmental disabilities that had been cut as part of Medicaid budget cuts two years ago, removing the ability of some of those people to work; HB 521, legislation following the recommendation of the governor’s school improvement task force regarding strategic planning in school districts; and HB 519, legislation from Rep. John Rusche, D-Lewiston, requiring that when restraints are used on a mentally ill person who is being transported by police, and those restraints were not ordered by a doctor, their use must be documented by the officer and noted in the patient’s clinical record.
Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.
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