What happened last week, what's scheduled for this week in the Idaho Legislature

Idaho Falls Post RegisterMarch 2, 2014 

LAST WEEK’S HIGHLIGHTS

Mental health: The Senate voted 28-6 Tuesday to establish behavioral health-crisis centers in Idaho Falls, Coeur d’Alene and Boise. Opponents expressed concerns about state entities competing with established private operations. The legislation moves to the House.

‘Add the Words’: Forty-six activists were arrested Thursday for trespassing after blocking Senate committee rooms. So far, 122 advocates have been arrested in three protests during the session. They advocate adding the words “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” to the Idaho Human Rights Act that provides protection from discrimination in the areas of housing, employment and public accommodations. Lawmakers say they won’t hear the bill this session, but want to work on a compromise for 2015.

Indigent care: The House Health and Welfare Committee voted 10-1 Thursday to limit the financial responsibility of the state and its counties to cover the medical costs of Idaho’s poorest residents. House Bill 535, sponsored by Rep. Janet Trujillo, R-Idaho Falls, says counties should no longer pay medical costs for residents who qualify for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act and, by extension, Idaho’s health insurance exchange. The measure heads to the House floor.

Criminal justice: The Senate voted 35-0 for the justice reinvestment bill, which would spend $2.3 million to strengthen parole supervision and reduce recidivism. Sen. Patti Anne Lodge, the bill sponsor, said it aims to lower long-term prison costs and promote a slower-growing prison population. The measure goes to the House.

‘Ag gag’: Gov. Butch Otter signed legislation Friday to fine and jail people for up to a year if they secretly film animal abuse at Idaho agricultural facilities.

Guns on campus: After nearly six hours of testimony, the House State Affairs Committee voted 11-3 along party lines for Senate Bill 1254. Now it goes to the House floor. The bill would allow people to carry concealed weapons on college campuses, except in large entertainment venues or dormitories.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR THIS WEEK

Budgets: The appropriations committee will continue setting budgets, including the public education budget for fiscal 2015.

FOR THE COMPLETE AGENDA, GO TO LEGISLATURE.IDAHO.GOV/SESSIONINFO/AGENDA.HTM

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