70 Pre-Filed Bills Waiting For Lawmakers

Anybody can be a county sheriff in Idaho. All you have to do is be appointed or get enough votes and you’re in.

But if legislation sponsored by the Idaho Association of Counties becomes law, after 2000, sheriffs will have to meet lawmaker standards.

The bill is among about 70 pre-filed with the Idaho House for the legislative session starting Jan. 12.

The legislation declares it is in the state’s best interest to make sure sheriffs are qualified since they are the primary law enforcement officers in every county.

“With the increase of crime continuing as a major social problem of this state,” requiring qualifications and standards are necessary, the bill states.

If the measure becomes law, nobody could be elected or appointed sheriff unless he or she is a U.S. citizen, registered to vote and at least age 21 with at least four years’ experience in law enforcement.

The would-be sheriff also must be certified by the Idaho Peace Officer Standards and Training program or be eligible for certification by POST as a peace officer.

Another prefiled measure proposes changing the fees charged by county government to setting up a statewide registry and disbursement unit for child support orders.

It would cost $135,000 to set the system up and $377,700 to operate it for a year, but counties would be relieved of the responsibility to collect child support payments. The legislation doesn’t call for the system to start until Oct. 1, 1998, which is the start of the state fiscal year.

Counties also want an increase in the fees they get for keeping state prisoners in county jails until there is room for them in the state prison system. They get $35 a day now, but want $45.

That would cost the state an extra $750,000 per year.

Other proposals:

County clerks want to increase their filing fees from $3 to $8 for the first page. The Idaho Association of Counties estimate that will give counties an extra $1.7 million per year to cover the cost of those services.

Legislation would define as trespass any person who is hunting, fishing or trapping on private property and refuses to leave after being requested. It’s similar to the criminal trespass law but applies specifically to hunting, fishing and trapping. Violations would require license revocation for at least one year.

A bill would require anyone winter feeding big game animals to get permission from the Fish and Game Department. “Winter feeding concentrates animals, raising public safety and animal health concerns,” the legislation says. A permit would cost $50, which would go to help pay for winter feeding.

The fattest prefiled bill is an 86-page measure rewriting Idaho’s Employment Security Law. It would impose reductions in some categories of taxes on employers.

A measure would allow checking through Social Security numbers of people applying for marriage licenses to see if one of the parties has unpaid child support obligations.

As part of the Governor’s Medicaid Reform Initiative, a measure would beef up enforcement of false claims for Medicaid, with triple damages and civil penalties for proven violations.

A bill filed by Rep. Jim Clark, R-Hayden, and Sen. Grant Ipsen, R-Boise, calls for creation of a Budget Stabilization Fund to minimize the need for budget cuts or tax increases. The fund would come into play when general fund tax receipts are more than 4 percent higher than the previous year.


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