Bill Description: House Bill 90 requires legislative approval for anyone who wishes to relocate or remove historical monuments or memorials, or to rename or rededicate public areas of the state that memorialize historic figures or events.
Analyst Note: There is an ongoing effort among certain activists to remove statues and memorials and to rename schools and sports teams to purge the world of things they have deemed racist. As an example, in January, the San Francisco Unified School District board voted to rename 44 schools, including Abraham Lincoln and George Washington high schools. Similar efforts have begun in Idaho with the recent renaming of the Boise Braves, Pocatello Indians, and Teton Redskins. Sacajawea Middle School is another target. House Bill 90 is intended to address and counter this disturbing trend.
Does it increase government spending (for objectionable purposes) or debt? Conversely, does it decrease government spending or debt?
House Bill 90 creates Section 73-123, Idaho Code, to instruct that "No historical monuments or memorials in place prior to July 1, 2021, erected on public property of the state or any of its political subdivisions may be relocated, removed, disturbed, or altered without approval of the legislature by concurrent resolution."
It also says, "No school, street, bridge, structure, park, preserve, reserve, or other public area of the state or any of its political subdivisions in place prior to July 1, 2021, dedicated in memory of or named for any historic figure or historic event may be renamed or rededicated without approval of the legislature by concurrent resolution."
The bill makes reasonable exceptions for necessary "construction, repair, or improvements to the monument, memorial, nameplate, or to the surrounding public property on which the monument, memorial, or nameplate is located."
The fiscal note for House Bill 90 correctly notes that "there are no added costs associated with keeping historic monuments and memorials as they currently exist," and thus there is no impact on the general fund.
What the fiscal note does not mention is the potential savings to local taxpayers when counties, cities, school boards, and other entities are prevented from wasting money attempting to impose their agenda through removing monuments, renaming schools, and engaging in similar pursuits.
In 2019, the Teton School District voted to rename the Teton Redskins. The cost estimate to replace school uniforms and remove signage was $30,000, and other costs were likely.
STAY CONNECTED with the latest news, research and opinions from the Gem State.