Idaho lawmakers end Week 1, readying to debate spending, hemp, Medicaid, tax relief –

BOISE, Idaho (CBS2) — Idaho lawmakers made quick work of it Friday, ending the first week of the 2020 session as many of the legislators head home for the weekend.

The House and Senate briefly convened, then adjourned by noon, after spending most of the week passing rules that emerged from last session.

But Gov. Brad Little’s State of the State address Monday provided a look at some of the heavy lifting that lies ahead. The governor started his second term by recommending investment in education, deeper cuts to state agencies, charting a new path forward to deal with prison overcrowding, laying the framework for Medicaid expansion, bolstering the rainy day funds, and providing some relief from taxes on the sales of groceries.

What all of this will look like will be the profound debate in the legislature.

“Cutting spending isn’t the most popular thing,” Gov. Little conceded in a news conference following his State of the State address Monday.

Property tax relief will be big this session. And yes, hemp will be back. There’s work to be done to develop a permit process for interstate transport of hemp. which remains illegal in Idaho even with just a trace of THC, And expect proposals to legalize CBD oil, said Sen. Abby Lee, (R) Fruitland. Sen. Lee said she hopes Idaho farmers can start growing hemp this year. Stay tuned on that. There’s major concern at the statehouse that hemp can be used as a Trojan Horse to bring marijuana into the state.

In a sense, everything old is new again…as lawmakers will once again take up Medicaid expansion, redistricting, and reducing regulatory burdens in the state.

Next week will also see more review and action on rules, said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Winder. But he says some bills should start emerging week after next.

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