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House Bill 137

House Bill 137

Phil Haunschild
February 15, 2017

Bill description: This bill extends an exemption from an electrician’s license for those who work on their own private property.

Rating: +2

Analyst’s note: This bill is nearly identical to House Bill 88 from earlier this legislative session and so is our analysis of it.

Does it give government any new, additional, or expanded power to prohibit, restrict, or regulate activities in the free market? Conversely, does it eliminate or reduce government intervention in the market? 

Idaho Code 54-1016(2) allows any homeowner to perform electrical work “in the owner’s primary or secondary residence or associated outbuildings.” This language has had the unintended consequence of preventing some homeowners from doing necessary work on their property. This amendment adds “land associated with the entire property on which those buildings sit.” This allows individuals to do work on their own private property, such as installing a new lighting system for their driveway or lighting a flagpole without being forced to contract work out to a licensed electrician. The bill does specify that commercial work cannot be performed under this exemption and the installation of renewable power generators is subject to approval by localities. (+1)

Does it directly or indirectly create or increase penalties for victimless crimes or non-restorative penalties for non- violent crimes? Conversely, does it eliminate or decrease penalties for victimless crimes or non-restorative penalties for non-violent crimes? 

Performing unlicensed electrical work on one’s own property is a victimless crime. Currently, an individual could be charged with a misdemeanor and fined up to $1,000 for performing innocuous tasks on their home. (+1)

Update: This bill was amended 3/2 in the House. As such, our analysis has been amended to reflect this.

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