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Monday, April 6, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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New Idaho bills on guns, abortion, daylight saving, birth certificates

UPDATED: Mon., March 2, 2020

By Betsy Z. Russell Idaho Press

BOISE — A slew of new bills on hot-button topics was introduced in a Senate committee on Monday: guns in schools, abortion, daylight saving time, and birth certificate changes for transgender Idahoans.

The committee agreed on voice votes to introduce all four. Here are the proposals:

    Sen. Todd Lakey, R-Nampa, introduced legislation to make it legal for a school district employee with an enhanced concealed weapons license to carry a concealed gun on school property; the employee would have to inform and provide a copy of their enhanced license to the principal and superintendent, in confidence. His bill also includes this requirement: “No public school shall display any signage indicating that school property is a gun-free zone.” And it adds that no school employee can be required to carry a concealed weapon or have a duty to carry or use a deadly weapon on school property.

    Lakey and Rep. Megan Blanksma, R-Hammett, introduced an abortion “trigger” law, indicating that if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe vs. Wade or the U.S. Constitution is amended to allow states to ban abortion, Idaho law would immediately, effective within 30 days, declare abortion a crime. The only exceptions would be to save the life of the pregnant woman or in cases of rape or incest in which the crime has been reported to a law enforcement agency or to child protective services and a copy of the report is provided to the physician. The bill lists 29 co-sponsors, all Republicans; it was introduced on a party-line vote, with Sens. Michelle Stennett, D-Ketchum, and Cherie Buckner-Webb, D-Boise, objecting.

    Sen. Jim Patrick, R-Twin Falls, introduced legislation to shift all of southern Idaho to year-round daylight saving time if Utah makes that shift. It would apply to all parts of Idaho that are in the Mountain time zone.

    Sen. Fred Martin, R-Boise, introduced legislation to require an attestation from a medical professional if anyone under 18 wants to change the gender marker on their birth certificate; currently, that requires parental permission. HB 509, which passed the House last week, would forbid all such changes, by people of any age; Martin said an Idaho attorney general’s opinion indicates that likely would be found unconstitutional and the state could have to pay more than $1 million in attorney fees. Idaho currently is under a federal court order to allow such birth certificate changes; HB 509 directly defies the court order.

Martin said his bill matches a proposed rule lawmakers and the Department of Health & Welfare worked out last year that they believe would comply with the court order, while imposing more restrictions than currently are in effect. “The status quo is not acceptable to me,” Martin said, “and this … (bill) is to help us get something to get clarity, especially with minors, in respect to the gender marker situation.” He said even if HB 509 were to pass, it likely would be stayed; in the meantime, he said his bill could serve as a “backstop.”

“Because of that cost, because of the length of the litigation, I believe we need something in place to get closer to what I think is acceptable as far as the gender markers,” Martin told the committee, which, after several questions, agreed to introduce the bill.

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