Chad Christensen

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Dear District 32 Constituents,

It is May and we are still in legislative session. I hope that comes to an end next week. However, I do not want to Sine Die. Some say that means the legislature wouldn’t be able to comeback and conduct business. I don’t agree with that. I believe we have the authority to convene when we want. Nonetheless, many of us are trying to only adjourn so we may be able to come back, if needed.

I stated earlier during the legislative session that I was working on a bill to strengthen the nullification of federal gun control in Idaho. Then I was told the Idaho 2nd Amendment Alliance and Senator Christy Zito were working on this issue. Therefore, I got on board with them and I was set to be the House sponsor of the bill. Senator Zito could not get a hearing from the Senate State Affairs Chairwoman Patti Ann Lodge. Subsequently, she decided to get it going on the House side. The bill was introduced in House State Affairs Committee and then never given a public hearing by House State Affairs Chairman Brent Crane.

Later in the session, a group of senators decided to nearly duplicate this bill with some changes. Of course, these changes weakened it a bit. They didn’t give the bill to have Senator Zito sponsor it. In fact, they initially left her off as a co-sponsor. The honorable thing to do would have been to allow Senator Zito to get the bill passed in the House and back to the Senate. At that point, the Senate could have amended it to their liking. Senator Zito, the Idaho Second Amendment Alliance and attorneys put a lot of time into this bill. Who will be getting credit for it? Hmmm.

Senate Bill 1205 passed the House on May 4th and will be heading to the Governor’s desk. I urge you to send him an email to sign it into law.

I voted for Senate Bill 1046. “This bill allows students and teachers to form independent classrooms at public schools, where curriculum and instructional material can be personalized based on student needs. Parents of students at public schools would be able to enroll their children in these innovation classrooms and have more autonomy over what their children learn. Innovation classrooms could be structured based on families’ preferences for how instruction is delivered — classrooms can be virtual, hybrid or in-person. Parents of the students in the classroom must agree upon a state certified teacher who will be providing instruction.”

I voted for House Bill 389. This is a property tax relief bill. Property taxes are getting out of control. This bill does not do a whole lot, in my opinion. However, it does raise the homeowner’s exemption from $100,000 to $125,000. This was the only reason it appealed to me.

A student of West Side School student recently sent me a letter. He asked if I would nominate him to participate in the Idaho Science and Aerospace Program. Ismael Santos pled his case to me, as to why I should nominate him. His accomplishments and GPA impressed me enough to nominate him. I did just that.

As previously explained, the Governor vetoed Senate Bill 1136 and House Bill 135. These bills limited his powers during emergencies, but the Senate failed to override the vetoes after some flipped their votes. The Senate negotiated with the Governor to draft a looser bill. Senate Bill 1217 deals with extreme emergency orders. It requires that the legislature must approve renewing the emergency order after 90 days and every 90 days thereafter.

The existing language prohibits the state from imposing “additional restrictions” on the right to keep and bear arms during a state of extreme emergency, while the new language prohibits the state from imposing or enforcing “federal restrictions prohibited under Idaho law” under such circumstances. This change removes the explicit prohibition on any “additional restrictions” regardless of their source.

The bill also adds new language saying the state may not “otherwise suspend or unconstitutionally limit any rights guaranteed by the United States constitution or the constitution of the state of Idaho, including but not limited to the right to peaceable assembly and free exercise of religion.” This is an important and necessary protection for Idahoans.

Senate Bill 1217 further amends Section 46-601, Idaho Code, to say, “During any state of extreme emergency, the governor may not alter, adjust, or suspend any provision of the Idaho Code but for good cause may temporarily suspend enforcement of particular provisions that prevent, hinder, or delay necessary action to respond to the state of extreme emergency.”

Have a great week! Take care!

Representative Chad Christensen

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