Senate Bill 1332 — Ambulance districts

Lindsay Atkinson 2020 Senate bill ratings Leave a Comment

Bill description: SB 1332 would set new requirements for establishing ambulance districts in the state after July 1, 2020.

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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? 

SB 1332 creates a new set of statute to regulate the act of creating or operating an ambulance district after July 1, 2020. One change it makes to the current code is to require more information from anyone petitioning to create an ambulance district. Specifically, it requires petitioners to provide the name of the proposed district and a map of its proposed t boundaries, along with the petition.

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The bill also recognizes the importance of public input by requiring a public vote. Currently, an ambulance district is created if the county commissioners in the county where a district is proposed vote to approve it. This bill would instead put the question before voters in a May or November election, allowing a majority of voters to either approve or deny the district.

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Additionally, this bill grants a power to voters they do not have in current law — to petition for and vote on dissolving a district.

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The bill also gives ambulance districts a new power to go into debt, which sometimes requires voter approval and sometimes does not.

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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? 

Current Idaho code says that county commissioners “shall determine the manner in which said ambulance district shall be operated, and [are] empowered to make expenditures.” This places an incredible amount of power to determine the powers and operation of ambulance districts with commissioners, with little guidance from the Legislature. This bill instead provides legislative guidance on the powers of ambulance districts and calls for these districts to be governed by a separate set of elected officials.

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Does it directly or indirectly create or increase any taxes, fees, or other assessments? Conversely, does it eliminate or reduce any taxes, fees, or other assessments? 

SB 1332 increases the tax levy these districts may impose from  “not to exceed two hundredths percent (.02%)” to “four-hundredths percent (.04%).” Additionally, it allows ambulance districts to propose (pending voter approval) a levy up to “six-hundredths percent (.06%).”

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