Capitol Letters | The Idaho Legislature Report

·2 min read

By Hayat Norimine, Accountability Editor; and Ryan Suppe, State Politics Reporter

Why the Idaho Supreme Court upheld new political boundaries

It’s official: Idaho has new legislative district boundaries.

The Idaho Supreme Court yesterday struck down challenges to the new legislative political boundaries. The state’s highest court sided with the redistricting commission — which was tasked with redrawing legislative and congressional district maps this year.

Every 10 years, Idaho’s bipartisan commission is mandated to draw new political boundaries based on updated populations from the census.

Challengers, which included two prominent tribal chairmen and Ada County, had argued that the newly proposed maps divided too many counties or communities of interest. But justices yesterday cited the state’s constitution, which says a county can be divided if the commission “reasonably determined” it’s necessary to comply with the U.S. Constitution.

Complying with the Fourteenth Amendment — the equal protection clause — holds priority, the justices said. The clause is better known as the “one person, one vote” provision. Legislative districts must be about equal in population to ensure the weight of someone’s vote isn’t based on where that person lives.

Read Idaho Statesman State Politics Reporter Ryan Suppe’s full story here.

Conversion therapy on minors

A new bill, introduced by a Garden City Democrat, would ban licensed mental health professionals in Idaho from practicing conversion therapy on LGBTQ youth. The therapy is defined as any practice that seeks to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.

“This dangerous and discredited practice is opposed by prominent professional medical and mental health organizations,” Rep. John McCrostie said during a House committee.

Read Statesman Education Reporter Becca Savransky’s full story here.

What else happened?

  • Idaho senators moved the bill to cut income taxes forward. The bill was sent to the Senate floor after a lengthy public hearing. The bill has already passed the House with a 57-13 vote.

  • Fish and Game officials said the state’s wolf population remained stable last year at about 1,500. Last year, state lawmakers had passed a controversial bill that removed limits, expanded trapping seasons on private land and gave the state authority to hire private contractors to kill wolves. Read Statesman Outdoors Reporter Nicole Blanchard’s full story here.

Committees to watch today

The House is expected on the floor at 8 a.m., and could take votes on several bills. One would extend immunity for businesses against lawsuits on COVID-19 exposures. Here’s where to watch remotely.

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