Idaho lawmakers are working to carve out a section of the state’s bribery and corruption laws to allow the Idaho Public Employees Association (IPEA) to give gift baskets to public sector workers. The proposal would allow nonprofit organizations like IPEA to run a public servant recognition program that could give awards of up to $500 to workers. The nonprofit would need to disclose the award on its website and couldn’t award any elected officials. The Senate Commerce and Human Resources Thursday approved sending the proposal on for a final Senate vote. The House approved the legislation March 12.
IPEA executive director Donna Yule said the organization would start awarding gift baskets to recognize public employees. She said the baskets, made up mostly of donations from Idaho businesses, could go to any public employee, not just IPEA members. “The morale of the state workers is pretty low right now,” Yule said. “We think this is a good way we could recognize those exceptional employees to the state and other public entities.”
Rep. Shirley Ringo, D-Moscow, helped IPEA make sure a new award wouldn’t be breaking the law. “We have worked with the attorney general to add to the definition of benefit so that the award would be consistent with the law and not cause any kind of unpredicted problems,” she said. The proposal now heads to the Senate floor. Read the text of the legislation here.
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