2020 Sine Die Report-Idaho Legislature

Posted 7 months ago

Sine Die Report

April 13, 2020

The 2nd regular session of the 65th legislative session ended on Friday March 20th.  While all sessions end on a contentious note, the Covid-19 emergency certainly added another dimension of stress not previously seen.  Even the vote to adjourn was close in the house; 32 for, 28 against.  Those opposing the adjournment wanted to stay in case the Governor vetoed a bill.  The legislature cannot attempt to override a veto if they have adjourned sine die.    By law Governor Little has 10 days after the legislature goes home to sign a bill, veto a bill or let it go into effect without his signature.  By April 1st the Governor had vetoed 6 pieces of legislation ranging from a bill that would shift transportation funding, to a bill dealing with the use of pesticides. 

During the 75 day legislative session, 830 proposed pieces of legislation were prepared for legislative committees and individual legislators. From that initial group of draft proposals, 559 bills were introduced, along with another 70 resolutions, memorials and proclamations. By the end of the session, 347 bills had been passed. After final legislative action, and following the Governor’s review, 341 introduced bills became law, with the majority of the new laws to become effective July 1, 2020. 

The big issues that did not see any changes were taxes.  Proposals to eliminate the grocery tax, or to double the grocery tax credit failed.  Likewise, proposals to address the soaring property taxes did not pass in the senate.  There will be an interim committee to discuss the complicated property tax system and bring recommendations to the 2021 legislature.  Like last year, there was an attempt to legalize the growing and transportation of Hemp, and like last year the proposal failed.  Idaho is now one of only 2 states that do not allow the growing or transporting of Hemp. 

Issues with statewide impact that did pass were a hands-free driving bill, funding of Medicaid expansion, increased pay for teachers and replenishing the rainy-day fund accounts to increased capacity. 

Since the legislature has adjourned sine die, Governor Little has issued several proclamations and executive orders primarily in response to Covid-19.  These include waiving both state and federal rules to allow for tele-health, delaying state tax payments to June 15th as well as moving the May primary election to a mail in ballot only election.    

NPI Related Bills

SB 1242 Global Signatures:  This legislation will allow NPs to sign documents that currently require a physician’s signature so long as it is within their scope of practice.  This legislation has been signed by the Governor and will go into effect July 1st.

HB 342 Telehealth Legislation: This legislation has been introduced by Representative Blanksma.  It will allow more options in telehealth but will still require providers to maintain the community standard of care.   Therefore, if the standard of care for NPs is to only see patients face-to-face on the initial visit HB 342 will have no impact on the practice.  The bill also adds language that requires the provider to take appropriate steps to establish a provider-patient relationship using telehealth that is sufficient to conduct a patient evaluation and appropriate to diagnose and treat the patient.  This legislation passed the house, was amended in the senate and signed by the Governor.  It will go into effect July 1st.   https://legislature.idaho.gov/wpcontent/uploads/sessioninfo/2020/legislation/H0342.pdf

HB 392 Volunteer Provider Immunity: This legislation expands the list of providers who are exempt from civil litigation if they are providing professional services without compensation. NPs were already a part of this section, but HB 392 would also provide liability protection to a student working under the direct supervision of a licensed provider. This legislation has been signed by the Governor and will go into effect July 1st. 


Board of Nursing Rules:  The reauthorization of the Board of Nursing rules passed both the House and Senate Health and Welfare Committees.  This is part of the omnibus reauthorization of all state agency rules.  While getting every rule reauthorized has been a long and arduous task, the legislative approval process has gone surprisingly smoothly.   

HB 616 replaced HB 436 Health Care Directive:  This legislation transfers the Health Care Directive registry from the Secretary of State to the Department of Health and Welfare.  There are currently 40,000 uses but there is no ability to provide information to those who need it, such as EMS.   HB 436 died on the House floor but was reprinted as HB 616 that reduced the cost from $500,000 to $350,000 and removed the requirement that the Department of Health and Welfare market and promote the registry.  This legislation has been signed by the Governor and will go into effect July 1st.    

HB 443 Vaccine Discrimination:  This legislation would prevent any person or company that contracts with the state (i.e. Medicaid) from discriminating against any person due to lack of a vaccine.  There has been a lot of discussion in the hall on how this might pertain to an employee who chooses not to get a flu shot for example.  Can you require them to wear a mask? This bill did not have a hearing. 

SB 1348 Drug History Review:  This legislation will require; prior to issuing to a patient a prescription for outpatient use for an opioid analgesic or benzodiazepine the prescriber or the prescriber's delegate shall review the patient's prescription drug history for the preceding 12 months from the prescription drug monitoring program and evaluate the data for indicators of prescription drug diversion or misuse.  This legislation has been signed by the Governor and will go into effect July 1st.    

There will be a primary election in May.  Fourteen legislators are not running again, including the Senate Protem, Chairman of the House Revenue and Taxation Committee, Chairman of the Senate Education Committee and long-time  Chairman of the Senator Transportation Committee.  The election will be by absentee ballot only for the first time in Idaho history. 

In the meantime thank you for the opportunity to work with you all this session and TAKE CARE!