Senate Bill 1081

Wayne Hoffman 2017 Senate bill ratings

Bill description: This bill extends for another two years a tax on insurance carriers to pay for a childhood immunization program.

Rating: -4

Analyst’s note: In 2010, the Idaho Legislature passed and the governor signed a bill creating an immunization program intended to provide vaccines to children who do not qualify for other federal assistance. To pay for the program, insurance carriers in Idaho are assessed a fee determined by the Immunization Assessment Board the state government created. According to House Bill 432, “Each carrier’s proportion of the assessment and the dates upon which the carrier must pay the assessment into the fund shall be determined by the board based on annual statements and other reports deemed necessary by the board. In making the assessment determination, the board shall also consider such factors as the number of vaccine doses administered in the pertinent time period and the number of program eligible children in the pertinent time period, as well as any necessary costs and expenses to administer the fund and discharge the duties of the board.”

House Bill 432 contained a sunset clause, causing the legislation, including its fees and the administrative board, to be null, void and of no force or effect after July 1, 2013. However, in 2013, the Legislature considered House Bill 178, which extended the deadline by amending the state’s Session Laws so that the new deadline was moved to July 1, 2015.

In 2015, the Legislature considered House Bill 107, which again amended the Session Laws such that the new deadline was set to July 1, 2017.

Senate Bill 1081 makes the same amendment in the same manner, amending the 2015 Session Laws to read, “The provisions of this Chapter 60, Title 41 shall be null,void and of no force and effect on and after July 1, 2019.”

Does it create, expand, or enlarge any agency, board, program, function, or activity of government? Senate Bill 1081 re-institutes the Immunization Assessment Board, whose temporary existence has been extended twice before. (-1)

Does it directly or indirectly create or increase any taxes, fees, or other assessments? The prepetuation of Chapter 60 of Title 41 contemplates the extension of an assessment that was instituted in 2010. If Senate Bill 1081 were to fail, the assessment would expire. (-1)

Does it increase government redistribution of wealth? Senate Bill 1081 uses insurance carriers as a means to tax insurance carriers, who in turn, pass the costs onto their customers in an attempt to provide “free” immunizations to children. This is a form of wealth redistribution through government force. (-1)

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

This is the third year that the Legislature has considered this proposal by amending the Session Laws. Generally, upon reaching a sunset date, the entire section or chapter in question would be before the body, with a proposal to extend the sunset date as it appears in Idaho law. In this case, as in the past, this legislation attempts to hide what it is doing–the creation (and continuation) of an entire government board and government program and the assessment of a fee against Idaho insurance carriers. Indeed, even the bill’s Statement of Purpose couldn’t be more vague and perplexing to those who have not been around since the program was created in 2010 and to the general public. (-1)