Bill Description: This legislation gives the Department of Health and Welfare legal authority to build a public secure treatment facility.
Analyst’s Note: This is a revised version of House Bill 212 from earlier this legislative session.
This legislation introduces Chapter 14 to Title 66 of the Idaho Code. Chapter 13 of Title 66, added in 1976, states, “The state board of correction shall establish, operate and maintain a program for persons displaying evidence of mental illness or psychosocial disorders and requiring diagnostic services and treatment in a maximum security setting.” This language is substantially similar, but not identical to, the proposed bill which states, “The department of health and welfare shall have the power to establish, operate and maintain a secure treatment facility for persons with an intellectual or developmental disability who pose a substantial threat to the safety of others.” The Legislature should have a policy discussion about the application of the current law relative to the proposed new law. Such a discussion ought to identify similar and dissimilar objectives in dealing with this population of Idahoans before deciding which agency is best suited to carrying out the new law.
Does it create, expand, or enlarge any agency, board, program, function, or activity of government? Conversely, does it eliminate or curtail the size or scope of government?
Constructing and managing a secure treatment facility would increase the scope of authority of the Department of Health and Welfare. Section 66-1402 (1), Idaho Code, of the proposed bill states: “The provisions of this chapter shall be liberally construed to accomplish these purposes.” This clause gives the department broad authority to expand the functions of such a facility. (-1)