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Senate Bill 1041 — Excessive prices, emergencies

Senate Bill 1041 — Excessive prices, emergencies

Parrish Miller
January 28, 2021

Bill Description: Senate Bill 1041 clarifies how price increases during an emergency are determined to be "exorbitant or excessive". 

Rating: +1

Does it give government any new, additional, or expanded power to prohibit, restrict, or regulate activities in the free market? Conversely, does it eliminate or reduce government intervention in the market?

Section 48-603, Idaho Code, titled "Unfair Methods and Practices," makes it illegal to price goods according to market conditions — supply and demand — during an emergency. This law requires that prices not be increased by an amount deemed "exorbitant or excessive," even if keeping prices low results in shortages. 

Senate Bill 1041 amends this section of code to clarify that "in determining whether an increase in price to the ultimate consumer is exorbitant or excessive, the court shall consider an increase in the price of goods sold but shall not consider any increase in the margin earned through such sales."

While the change falls short of eliminating this anti-market section of code, it does make it clear that merely keeping prices steady or instituting small, typical increases is not regarded as increasing prices in an exorbitant or excessive manner. This is particularly relevant to the sale of fuel, where the wholesale price may decrease in spite of a localized emergency. 


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