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House Bill 154 — Vehicle inspection programs

House Bill 154 — Vehicle inspection programs

Parrish Miller
February 17, 2021

Bill Description: House Bill 154 allows counties to opt out of motor vehicle inspection programs if previous air quality problems no longer exist. 

Rating: +1

Does it directly or indirectly create or increase any taxes, fees, or other assessments? Conversely, does it eliminate or reduce any taxes, fees, or other assessments?

House Bill 154 amends Section 39-116B, Idaho Code, which is the section of code that forces certain counties (such as Ada County) to implement "a motor vehicle inspection and maintenance program." 

This program requires vehicle owners to undergo what is commonly known as an "emissions check." Not only is this an added cost to vehicle owners, it is also a regressive policy that unfairly targets individuals who own older vehicles that struggle to meet the standards imposed by these checks.

Some counties are forced to implement these programs because they have an "airshed" with "ambient concentration design values equal to or above eighty-five percent (85%) of a national ambient air quality standard, as defined by the United States environmental protection agency, for three (3) consecutive years starting with the 2005 design value." In other words, Idaho uses an arbitrary standard set by the EPA to impose a costly burden on some Idaho vehicle owners. 

House Bill 154 adds a new subsection that allows a county that previously had an airshed below that 85% threshold, but which is now above that level, to opt out of the program through a majority vote of a board of county commissioners.

Unfortunately, if the airshed quality falls back below the threshold, "any board of county commissioners of a county within the airshed that has opted out of the inspection and maintenance program shall be notified by the board [of environmental quality] and shall be required to comply with the provisions of this section."

Opting out of this program would reduce fees and hassles for vehicle owners, but there is no guarantee that any county will take advantage of the opportunity to opt out of these onerous regulations. It should also be noted that this bill does not decouple Idaho law from the arbitrary and capricious whims of the EPA. 


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