Idaho Gov. Butch Otter has signed 236 pieces of legislation approved by lawmakers this year. While the governor chose to hold signing ceremonies for some of the measures, he approved most of them with little fanfare.
In the past week, the governor signed the budget for public schools, which reduces state funding for K-12 education by $128 million, as well as the budget for the Idaho Department of Correction, which will see a 0.5 percent, $867,000 reduction. The governor has signed 48 appropriation bills, which set spending for state agencies and programs, with none receiving a public signing ceremony.
The governor also quietly approved legislation that would add extra fees to offenders found guilty of a crime or infraction, require schools to create Internet use policies, create a voluntary tax on hospitals designed to bring in $25 million for Medicaid, move up the deadlines for write-in elections, and remove law enforcement officials’ home addresses and phone numbers from some public records.
The governor will hold his first signing ceremony in eastern Idaho on Thursday. He will be at a Rexburg museum to sign legislation that increases tax credits on donations to museums, schools, and several state agencies that were targeted for reduced state funding. The governor and Sen. Brent Hill, R-Rexburg, backed that legislation. Otter will also be in eastern Idaho for campaign events.
Other legislation that has received signing ceremonies include the Idaho Health Freedom Act, which opposes parts of new federal health care laws, a plan to regulate bail bond agents, and a plan to create a stabilization fund for higher education.