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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Eye On Boise

Otter vetoes sign language interpreter licensing bill, cites ‘strain on very limited resources’

Idaho Gov. Butch Otter has vetoed HB 152a, the sign language interpreter licensing bill that drew much interest from the deaf- and hard-of-hearing community during this year's legislative session, and that passed the Senate thanks to Lt. Gov. Brad Little's tie-breaking vote. “The scope and complexity of daily life today suggests the need for sign language interpreters to be licensed to ensure they are qualified and capable of faithfully and competently assisting the deaf or others with speech-related disabilities,” Otter wrote in his veto message. “But I also understand why the Senate would have killed this legislation but for the tie-breaking vote of the President (Little). Stakeholders have made it clear that this legislation could be a severe strain on already very limited resources.”

Otter said he’ll commit his Bureau of Occupational Licensing to work with stakeholders on the issue and try to find a different solution; you can read his full veto message here. The bill passed the House on a 43-22 vote before deadlocking senators in a 17-17 tie; Little didn’t hesitate, immediately voting yes and passing the bill. The Senate had amended the bill, so it went back to the House for concurrence in amendments; that was approved on a 41-27 vote.

Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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