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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Idaho lawmakers await vetoes from Gov. Brad Little. Here are some outstanding bills

Idaho Gov. Brad Little gives a speech during the Idaho Republican Party primary celebration on May 17.  (Otto Kitsinger/Idaho Capital Sun)
By Ryan Suppe Idaho Statesman

The Idaho Legislature on Friday completed most of its work and now awaits the governor’s decision on a number of outstanding bills, including one that would ban gender-affirming care for transgender minors.

The House and Senate recessed until Thursday, giving lawmakers an opportunity to return next week and address potential vetoes from Idaho Gov. Brad Little before officially adjourning.

Little has five days, excluding Sunday, after a bill clears the Legislature to sign it into law or veto it. If he takes no action before the deadline, the bill becomes law. Legislators can override a veto with a two-thirds majority vote by each chamber.

GOP leaders told the Idaho Statesman they aren’t worried about vetoes on any bills in particular.

“The governor works well with the House and Senate leadership,” said House Speaker Mike Moyle, R-Star. “We’re going to be fine.”

GOP leaders consider session

a success

Moyle and Senate President Pro Tem Chuck Winder, R-Boise, both said the 82-day session was a success, despite a slew of freshmen lawmakers with little to no legislative experience. The Senate had a 50% turnover rate heading into the session, which started in early January.

“We have a lot of new people that we were trying to mentor and educate,” Winder said. “I think it went really well. We got the budgets done, put more money into education, put more money into roads, gave money back to people.”

The Legislature cleared state spending bills – its only constitutional mandate – with little consternation compared with recent years, when legislative sessions were extended over budget battles.

But a handful of controversial policy bills have yet to clear their final hurdle – the governor’s signature. Little’s spokespeople have declined to comment on those bills.

Little weighs bills on vaccines, books, trans health care

One that may be in danger is Senate Bill 1130, which limits employers’ ability to require COVID-19 vaccinations. Last year, Little vetoed a similar bill, calling it “government overreach.”

Meanwhile, advocates are urging the governor to veto House Bill 314, which would make libraries and schools liable for lawsuits if they allow minors to access “harmful” material, and House Bill 71, a ban on gender-affirming care for transgender minors.

Kurt Zwolfer, executive director of the Cabin, a nonprofit writers’ workshop in Boise, asked donors to contact the governor’s office and call for House Bill 314’s veto.

“This bill makes the decision for all parents on what materials are accessible in the library, based on the beliefs of a few parents and politicians,” Zwolfer wrote. “It then creates a law with an overreaching litigious provision to back it up, threatening to bankrupt already underfunded libraries.”

Demonstrators who opposed House Bill 71 waived signs and chanted in support of LGBTQ+ rights Friday on the Capitol steps. The bill would make it a felony for physicians to provide gender-affirming surgery, puberty blockers and hormone treatment to minors.

Arne Naumann, a transgender 16-year-old, said he hasn’t used gender-affirming medications before, but now he might not get the chance.

“That’s terrifying to me, so I’m trying to fight against that ever happening,” Naumann said.

The deadline for Little’s action on the bills is this week.