Bill Description: Senate Bill 1098 would expand the powers of the director of the Department of Environmental Quality, or DEQ.
NOTE: Senate Bill 1098 is similar to Senate Bill 1014, introduced earlier this session.
Does it create, expand, or enlarge any agency, board, program, function, or activity of government? Conversely, does it eliminate or curtail the size or scope of government?
Senate Bill 1098 would amend Section 39-105, Idaho Code, which details the powers and duties of the director of the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ).
The language added by the bill would grant the director of DEQ authority to "enter into and make voluntary contracts and agreements with public agencies, municipal corporations, and private parties for funding or reimbursement of staff and consultant costs necessary for the director to discharge his duties as provided by state statute and administrative rule."
Of particular note here is that DEQ could make contracts to obtain funding or reimbursement from taxpayer-funded entities such as municipal corporations or public agencies.
This bill is better than Senate Bill 1014, and it was further improved by an amendment that clarified that the director’s duties must be provided for in state statute, as opposed to just “statute,” which could include federal law. It would be better still if the bill limited the administrative rule reference to permanent administrative rules. This would exclude temporary rules, which have not yet been reviewed or approved by the Legislature.
Additional new language added by the bill says, "such contracts and agreements shall be limited to a five (5) year term, however they can be renewed upon agreement of all parties." It also says, "Moneys received through these contracts and agreements shall be expended pursuant to appropriation."
It is unclear how the Legislature could use its appropriation authority to disentangle the state from a 5-year contract based on some duty created or expanded by a temporary rule from DEQ. It will be important for the Legislature to keep tabs on how this expanded power is used.
STAY CONNECTED with the latest news, research and opinions from the Gem State.