After brief comments about the process the conference committee will follow, Senate Transportation Chairman Bert Brackett asked, “Any questions or clarifications?” When there were none from the other conference committee members, he said with a smile, “This is gonna be easy.” Rep. John Vander Woude, patting the table, said, “Where’s that easy button?”
“We’re dealing with HB 312,” Brackett said. To some chuckles from the audience, he said, “It was sent over to the Senate and we made some improvements. … We sent it over to the House and the House chose not to concur. So that brings us to where we are today.”
Brackett then suggested that the group go through the amendments, and put a checkmark by those on which they don’t agree. House Transportation Chairman Joe Palmer, R-Meridian, said they’d just as well put checkmarks by all of them. “I obviously have a problem with the values that they’re being changed to,” he said of the first set, regarding registration fee increases. “I think the increases on those are obviously, to me, too high, where we’re increasing the lowest, which is lowest rating of vehicles, which is the biggest part of the registered vehicles in the state of Idaho, by over 100 percent, I think is a pretty big increase. I still think the original number of $15 was a pretty good number, and I think that’s where we should be.”
The original House bill raised registration fees on all classes of vehicles by a flat $15; the Senate amendments bumped that up to $25. Brackett said there could be proportionate increases on those lower classes of vehicles, and he and Palmer made notes on their copies of the bill.