House Bill 68 — Higher ed, infectious disease

House Bill 68 — Higher ed, infectious disease

by
Parrish Miller
February 2, 2021

Bill Description: House Bill 68 makes it so higher education institutions cannot be closed or controlled by cities or health districts in the name of preventing the spread of contagious or infectious diseases.

Rating: +2

Analyst Note: House Bill 68 is one of several pieces of legislation introduced during the 2021 session to change how emergencies are handled in Idaho.

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 67 creates Section 33-3730, Idaho Code, to require "each state institution of higher education" to "adopt a policy for measures and procedures to prevent the spread of contagious or infectious disease, including temporary closure of the institution or any of its buildings or campuses." It states that "such policy must be adopted in consultation with the state board of education" and, of special concern, "the district health department of any public health district in which the institution offers in person classes."

Once these policies are adopted, "only the state board of education, acting in accordance with the policy, has the authority to close an institution or any of its buildings or campuses, to limit its programs or activities, or to require other measures at the institution for the purpose of preventing the spread of contagious or infectious disease."

The purpose of this change is to prevent other entities, such as the Department of Health and Welfare, district boards of health, cities, counties, and even (it would appear) the governor from closing or controlling higher education institutions in the name of preventing the spread of contagious or infectious diseases.

(+1)

House Bill 67 creates Section 33-2145, Idaho Code, to require "the board of trustees of each community college" to "adopt a policy for measures and procedures to prevent the spread of contagious or infectious disease, including temporary closure of the college or any of its buildings or campuses." Unfortunately, it requires that "such policy must be adopted in consultation with the district health department of any public health district in which the college offers in person classes."

Once these policies are adopted, "only the board of trustees, acting in accordance with the policy, has the authority to close a community college or any of its buildings or campuses, to limit its programs or activities, or to require other measures at the college for the purpose of preventing the spread of contagious or infectious disease."

The purpose of this change is to prevent other entities, such as the Department of Health and Welfare, district boards of health, cities, counties, and even (it would appear) the governor from closing or controlling community colleges in the name of preventing the spread of contagious or infectious diseases.

These changes represent necessary reductions in authority for unelected entities, but could be improved upon by removing public health districts from the statute entirely. 

(+1)

View Comments
Idaho Freedom Foundation
802 W. Bannock Street, Suite 405, Boise, Idaho 83702
p 208.258.2280 | e [email protected]
COPYRIGHT © 2021 Idaho freedom Foundation
magnifiercrossmenucross-circle
>
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram