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Otter signs 45 bills into law, vetoes one

UPDATED: Mon., March 26, 2018, 10:18 p.m.

Idaho state Capitol (Betsy Z. Russell / The Spokesman-Review)
Idaho state Capitol (Betsy Z. Russell / The Spokesman-Review)

BOISE – Idaho Gov. Butch Otter signed 45 bills into law on Monday, including measures encouraging gun safety classes in Idaho schools, overhauling the state’s foster care laws, expanding suicide prevention education and requiring ignition interlock devices for first-time DUI offenders.

He vetoed one bill regarding teacher evaluations.

The vetoed bill may not launch an override effort from lawmakers because it was related to a fight that later was resolved regarding whether to roll out a new statewide early reading assessment test next year.

The measure would have removed the Idaho Reading Indicator, which tests kindergartners through 3rd graders on reading in the fall and spring, from the possible measures of student achievement that could be factored into teachers’ evaluations; lawmakers have since approved funding for the new version of the test.

“I believe that the issue is not as big as it was” when the vetoed bill passed, said House Speaker Scott Bedke, R-Oakley.

Otter also allowed the budget bill for the operations division of Idaho’s public school budget to become law without his signature, saying he didn’t like the fact that the way lawmakers structured the budget, he couldn’t exercise his line-item veto to remove an “$11 million increase in discretionary funding, which I neither recommended nor support.”

The Legislature wrote a budget for public schools that increased discretionary funding to school districts next year, as requested by state Schools Superintendent Sherri Ybarra.

Lawmakers trimmed other items so that in the end, the budget they passed came in at a 5.9 percent increase in state funds for public schools next year, below the 6 percent Otter requested and the 6.8 percent Ybarra sought.


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