Bill Description: House Bill 246 clarifies that an emergency order or disaster declaration cannot be used as a pretext to violate parental rights.
Amendment Analysis: The Senate Amendment to this bill completely rewrote it, creating a new section (32-1014) instead of amending Section 32-1013. Despite the structural changes, the intent of the bill remains essentially the same. The new language says, "At no time shall the existence of any order, proclamation, or declaration issued pursuant to chapter 6 or 10, title 46, Idaho Code, be considered essential to further a compelling governmental interest to justify: (1) Forced medical action on a child; (2) Forced removal of a child from the home; or (3) The violation of or interference with a parent's fundamental and established rights protected by the Idaho parental rights act."
The rating of the bill remains the same.
Does it violate the spirit or the letter of either the U.S. Constitution or the Idaho Constitution? Examples include restrictions on speech, public assembly, the press, privacy, private property, or firearms. Conversely, does it restore or uphold the protections guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution or the Idaho Constitution?
House Bill 246 amends Section 32-1013, Idaho Code, to add a clarification about violations of parental rights deemed "essential to further a compelling governmental interest." The added language says, "At no time shall an emergency, extreme emergency, extreme peril, or disaster declaration or order be considered a compelling governmental interest sufficient to justify forced medical action, forced removal of a child from the home, or any other action that could abridge parental rights as described in this chapter."
It further states, "Nothing in this section shall be construed to modify any existing, or create any new, compelling governmental interest."
While this change will only come into play should the government attempt to infringe on parental rights during an emergency, extreme emergency, extreme peril, or disaster declaration, it is a positive addition to Idaho code and may serve to protect the rights of parents and families.