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Otter vetoes sign language regulation bill

Otter vetoes sign language regulation bill

Dustin Hurst
April 22, 2015
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April 22, 2015

Gov. Butch Otter vetoed legislation Wednesday that would have forced sign language interpreters to obtain a state license before going to work.

Otter’s spokesman, Jon Hanian, confirmed the veto in an email to IdahoReporter.com Wednesday afternoon. This is Otter’s fourth full veto of the year; he rejected a repeal of Idaho’s historical horse racing law, a measure to allow sick kids and adults to have access to special medicine extracted from marijuana and a plan to change the funding formula for charter schools.

The governor used his line-item veto to scratch out a fund transfer in the Department of Labor’s 2016 appropriation.

The bill cleared the House easily on two votes: one before the Senate amended it and one after. The Senate vote, though, was a bit narrower. Lt. Gov. Brad Little, holding the gavel as Senate president, voted to break a 17 to 17 tie to approve the bill and send it back to the House.

In his veto letter, Otter said he believes there's a need for some regulation, but gave a nod to public officials who warned lawmakers the bill would burden government systems.

This likely won't be the last time Idahoans and the Legislature address this issue. "In vetoing this bill, I commit my administration, through the Bureau of Occupation Licensing,  to work with all stakeholders to address the concerns that have surfaced with this legislation to make sure we achieve the policy of certified interpreters," Otter wrote in his letter.

"My hope is to respond constructively to this needed public service without also creating undue burdens."

Only the Idaho Freedom Foundation opposed the measure in committee hearings, warning against the very complexity that likely motivated Otter to kill the bill.

"The governor's veto bill was appropriate given the bill was overly broad and would have criminalized family and friends for assisting the hearing impaired community," wrote IFF Vice President Fred Birnbaum Wednesday. "Under this bill, a mother would not have legally been able to interpret for her child at the dentist's office. That would have been a step in the wrong direction."


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