Legislative notebook: Otter lets Uber bill become law without signing it

Uber bill

Otter lets law take effect without his signature

The bill, written by Uber itself and approved by the Legislature over objections from cities that sought tighter regulation, lets the car-summoning service operate as it wants in Idaho.

In his transmittal letter to the Legislature, Otter commended Uber for “operating in the best traditions of the free market” but noted his concern about state regulations “essentially trumping local restrictions.”

“Government closest to the people governs best,” he said.

Bill Dentzer

Schools budget

House approves spending boost

The Idaho House approved all seven pieces of the state’s largest budget with almost no discussion on Monday, sending the bills to the governor’s desk.

None of the bills – a combined $1.4 billion in general funds – received more than seven votes in opposition.

Under the proposals, public schools funding will increase by 7.4 percent to help fund the first year of the new teacher pay increase.

Money for subsequent years of the five-year plan to raise rookie teacher pay to $37,000 will be approved in future sessions.

The Senate unanimously passed the bills with no debate last week. The governor is expected to approve the allocations.

The Associated Press

Epilepsy treatment

Marijuana extract oil bill heads to governor

The House voted 39-30 to approve the bill on Monday.

The legislation has been dubbed “Alexis’ Bill” after 10-year-old Alexis Carey, who has a rare form of epilepsy called Dravet Syndrome. Supporters say the oil extracted from marijuana plants can reduce the frequency and severity of seizures in children with epilepsy.

But opponents say it marks a slippery slope toward medical marijuana. The plan also prompted concerns that the non-psychotropic oil could cause problems with enforcing and prosecuting other drug crimes.

Marijuana extract oil is legal in 12 other states where medical marijuana remains illegal.

Gov. Butch Otter has not said whether he will sign the bill.

The Associated Press

Abortion-inducing drugs

Otter signs ban on telemedicine abortion

The bill keeps Idaho women from receiving abortion-inducing drugs via telemedicine.

The law signed by Gov. Butch Otter Monday requires a doctor to be physically present when giving pregnancy-ending pills. Telemedicine is not currently available in the state.

The law also requires doctors to make efforts to schedule a follow-up visit with the woman after administering the drugs.

Proponents argue the law protects women from potential complications. But opponents say using telemedicine does not lower the standard of care by physicians.

The bill passed both chambers on party-line votes.

The Guttmacher Institute, a research center that supports abortion rights, says 16 other states have similar laws.

The Associated Press

Add the Words

LGBT anti-discrimination advocates return to Capitol

Advocates of adding anti-discrimination protections on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity to Idaho’s human rights law returned to the Capitol Monday, with 26 people lining the House wing.

Later, they watched House proceedings from the upstairs gallery.

The Legislature in January held three days of committee hearings on a bill to add the language before voting the measure down on party lines. Proponents of the change have since taken to civil disobedience protests in the Capitol and have been arrested for blocking access to legislative offices and chambers.

Bill Dentzer