Senate Bill 1002 — Disaster, payments

Senate Bill 1002 — Disaster, payments

by
Parrish Miller
January 19, 2021

Bill Description: Senate Bill 1002 updates the state's policy for expenses incurred related to emergencies. 

Rating: 0

Analyst Note: Senate Bill 1002 is one of several pieces of legislation introduced during the 2021 session to change how emergency situations are handled and to shift power from the executive branch to the legislative branch during such times. 

Does it increase government spending (for objectionable purposes) or debt? Conversely, does it decrease government spending or debt?

Senate Bill 1002 amends Section 46-1003, Idaho Code, to modify under what conditions it will be the state's policy "to provide for the payment of obligations and expenses incurred by the state of Idaho through the Idaho office of emergency management."

Existing code says this will be "during a declared state of disaster emergency," but Senate Bill 1002 changes the language to apply only to expenses "arising out of a declared state of disaster emergency."

This change attempts to more directly tie the obligations and expenses paid through the Idaho office of emergency management to a declared emergency. Rather than broadly defining these expenses as those that occur during the period of emergency, the new language requires that they arise specifically out of that emergency.

There are both positive and negative elements to this change. It is positive to move away from the broad definition that allows expenses unrelated to a declared emergency to be included merely because they were incurred during the emergency.

It is potentially problematic however, that government expenses arising long after an emergency ends could still be construed to have arisen out of that emergency and therefore qualify for funds to which they would otherwise be denied. 

A better definition would incorporate both the requirement that the expenses arise out of the emergency and that they do so only during a declared state of disaster emergency. Such a definition would provide a greater restriction on expanded spending authority for the state.

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