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House Bill 399 — Maternal mortality, board, report

House Bill 399 — Maternal mortality, board, report

Parrish Miller
January 17, 2024

Bill Description: House Bill 399 would authorize the Board of Medicine to collect and review data about maternal mortality and require the board to provide an annual summary of the issue to the Legislature. 

Rating: -2

NOTE: In 2023, the Legislature chose to sunset the "maternal mortality review committee," because the committee was an unnecessary waste of tax dollars. House Bill 399 seems designed to restore the functions of the committee without its form. 

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?

House Bill 399 would amend Section 54-1806, Idaho Code, which details the powers and duties of the state Board of Medicine. The bill would authorize the board to "collect and review data and information concerning maternal mortality in the state of Idaho" and explicitly grant the board "power throughout the state of Idaho to require the production of all information relating to any incidence of maternal mortality."

The bill would also obligate the board to "provide an annual summary report no later than January 31 each year to the legislature on the number of instances of maternal mortality and other information as determined by the board."

This bill would expand the scope and activities of the Board of Medicine.


Does it increase government spending (for objectionable purposes) or debt? Conversely, does it decrease government spending or debt?

The Fiscal Note for House Bill 399 claims the "legislation causes no additional expenditures of funds" and therefore "has no fiscal impact," but this claim bears additional scrutiny. Gathering and analyzing data isn't an automatic or costless process and neither is the preparation of an annual summary report. 

If the basis of the "no fiscal impact" claim is that additional employees or employee time won't be required, this raises the question of how the board will absorb these new mandates. Will other tasks be left undone or are there currently too few tasks to justify existing staffing levels? In either case, the working hours spent on compliance with the mandates in this bill will carry a cost, even if that cost is not acknowledged as a separate line item.


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