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House Bill 2 — Bond, levy elections, disclosures

House Bill 2 — Bond, levy elections, disclosures

Parrish Miller
January 19, 2021

Bill Description: House Bill 2 requires that ballot questions regarding bonds and levies include certain disclosures and forgo any ancillary and potentially confusing information. 

Rating: +1

Does it in any way restrict public access to information related to government activity or otherwise compromise government transparency or accountability? Conversely, does it increase public access to information related to government activity or increase government transparency or accountability?

House Bill 2 amends Sections 34-439 and 34-439A, Idaho Code, to say that ballot questions to authorize a bond or levy after July 1, 2021, "must include the information and language required by this section in order to be binding."

It adds that "the ballot question may not include other information or language regarding any other bond, levy, or matter, whether previous, current, or proposed."

Finally, it adds teeth to the new statutory requirement by declaring that failure to comply will result in a $10,000 fine levied against the office of the county clerk. More significantly, such failure will also nullify the passage of the bond or levy.

The purpose of this bill is to make sure that voters have clear and accurate information about the costs of the bond or levy they are being asked to approve. It also does away with the common trick by which a taxing district claims that new bonds or levies are merely replacing older, expiring bonds or levies, which may confuse some people into believing that a new bond or levy is merely an extension of an existing one. 

The net effect of this bill is an increase in transparency for Idaho voters. 


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