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House Bill 575 — County property, jails, courthouses

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House Bill 575 — County property, jails, courthouses

Parrish Miller
February 10, 2022

Bill Description: House Bill 575 would require county officials to secure voter approval if they wish to sign a lease for a courthouse or jail that exceeds five years. 

Analyst Note: House Bill 575 is similar to House Bill 474, introduced earlier this session. This new version deletes some unnecessary language from existing code and moves the effective date from July 1, 2022, to January 1, 2023.

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?

Existing Idaho statute allows counties to lease courthouses and jails for up to 30 years. House Bill 575 amends Section 31-1001, Idaho Code, to limit such leases to 5 years unless the proposed contract "has been approved by a simple majority of the electors voting at an election held pursuant to section 34-106, Idaho Code."

This change is a small step in the right direction because government debt should always require the approval of the taxpayers whose money will be taken to repay it. It would be even better to require a supermajority public vote for all government expenditures, undertakings, and contracts involving debt or financial obligation extending beyond the current year. 


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