Senate Bill 1045

Phil Haunschild 2017 Senate bill ratings

Bill description: This grants the Idaho Global Entrepreneurial Mission Council (IGEM) the jurisdiction to establish sub-committees to provide specific guidance.

Rating: -1

Analyst note: In 2012, the Legislature created the Idaho Global Entrepreneurial Mission Council Grant Fund to support public-private research partnerships at the state’s colleges and universities. The problem, then as now, is the authority granted to the government to pick winners and losers, to subsidize some projects and not others. Government has an unfair advantage over the private sector because of the support of taxpayers.

Does it in any way restrict public access to information related to government activity or otherwise compromise government transparency or accountability? Conversely, does it increase public access to information related to government activity or increase government transparency or accountability? 

By expanding without limitation the authority of the IGEM board to create new subcommittees and establish new private sector partners, the government further dilutes the accountability and transparency of the endeavor. The bill does not specify who might serve on the subcommittees, making it possible for a single business to have outsized influence over which projects get funded. (It is important to understand that IGEM council members are appointed by the governor, while subcommittee members do not need to be council members). There is proposed here no oversight into the subcommittee member selection process or no limitations against conflicts of interest. There isn’t so much as a notation necessary when a private sector member might be positioning himself or herself to support a particular project or grant out of self interest. (-1)