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House Bill 4 — Disasters, parental rights

House Bill 4 — Disasters, parental rights

Parrish Miller
January 19, 2021

Bill Description: House Bill 4 clarifies that a "disaster emergency" or "state of extreme peril" shall not be used to abridge parental rights.

Rating: +1

Analyst Note: H0004 is one of several pieces of legislation introduced during the 2021 session to change how emergency situations are handled and to shift power from the executive branch to the legislative branch during such times. 

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?

H0004 amends Section 32-1013, Idaho Code, to narrow existing language that lets government infringe on parental rights if it is deemed "essential to further a compelling governmental interest." Specifically, this bill adds the provision that "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." 

While the "compelling governmental interest" standard remains problematic in all contexts, the clarity provided by this addition is both necessary and positive. 


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