Conflict of interest measure passes
The bill that cleared the House 64-1 on Monday gives the Idaho Attorney General's Office authority to conduct the initial investigation into an allegation of misconduct against a county prosecutor or members of a local county commission.
Currently, county prosecutors handle those complaints.
The bill was drafted by lawmakers in Canyon County, where former prosecutor John Bujak has been embroiled in accusations of misusing public money and other transgressions. The measure now goes to Gov. Butch Otter.
Senate passes two gun bills
Both proposals already received a nod from the House and are headed to the governor's desk.
One of the bills passed Monday expands the number of weapons that wouldn't require a permit under Idaho's concealed weapons rules to include Tasers, pepper spray and knives with blades shorter than 4 inches, including kitchen knives.
Rep. Pete Nielsen brought the bill after his son was cited during a traffic stop for carrying a 4-inch knife in his car.
A second bill aims to make Idaho's concealed weapons permit more likely to be recognized by other states. It would create a beefed-up, voluntary "enhanced" permit for gun owners. Obtaining it would require an eight-hour class, live-fire training and a mental health check.
Also on Monday, a bill allowing Idahoans seeking a concealed weapons permit to obtain a copy of their background check cleared a Senate committee.
House clears voluntary fund
Idaho drivers will be able to contribute to a fund to promote organ donations, after a 61-6 House vote that sends the bill to Gov Otter.
People applying for or renewing their driver's license can give $2. People could make a voluntary contribution when applying for or renewing their vehicle registration.
Backers of the measure aim to promote the system of matching up people in dire need of eyes, kidneys, tissues and other vital organs with those who want to make a donation, should they be killed in an accident.
Senate committee wants study
The network of public defenders has been plagued by staffing shortages in recent years and criticized by civil rights groups as insufficient in some counties, so the Senate Judiciary and Rules committee voted Monday for a legislative panel to look at the issue this summer.
Republican Rep. Darrell Bolz of Caldwell said Idaho's Criminal Justice Commission has also found some problems, including excessive caseloads.
He said that only three counties have offices and that other counties regularly use contract attorneys to complete public defense work.
The Associated Press