The start of July marks a new fiscal year for the Idaho state government, and some new laws approved by the Legislature go into effect. Balancing the state budget took up most of lawmakers’ time at the Capitol in Boise this year, but some state laws saw changes.
Pharmacists, nurses, and other health care workers will now be able to refuse to provide treatment for some procedures that go against their conscience, including abortion, emergency contraception, stem-cell therapy, and end-of-life care. The plan, sponsored by Sen. Chuck Winder, R-Boise, and backed by the anti-abortion rights group Idaho Chooses Life, became law without Gov. Butch Otter’s signature. Otter had concerns about the end-of-life provision, which the AARP objected to, as well.
Parents in Idaho could also see changes at doctors’ offices. State lawmakers approved a plan changing the state’s computer reminder system for immunizations from an opt-in system, where parents had to sign up their children to be registered, to an opt-out system. The switch is part of an effort to increase Idaho’s low rate of childhood immunization.
Idaho’s rape laws also saw a change to its age of consent. Now, consensual sexual activity between 16- and 17-year-olds with partners up to three years older than them is not considered rape.
Under another new law, Idahoans going to the polls this November will need to bring a government-issued photo ID. The law is an effort to limit fraud in elections. Anyone who shows up to the polls without photo ID can vote if they sign an affidavit asserting their identity.
The state of Idaho now also bans federal regulations on guns made wholly in Idaho, including background checks on potential gun buyers.
Some plans approved by lawmakers this year went into effect before July 1. One of the most prominent laws approved by the Legislature, the Idaho Health Freedom Act, which compelled Idaho’s attorney general to sue the federal government because of the mandate to buy medical insurance in new federal health care laws, went into effect when the governor signed it in March, due to an emergency provision.
Starting Thursday, the Idaho Human Rights Commission is formally merged with the Idaho Department of Labor.
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