Idaho Political Report
In the Late-April/Early-May edition of the Idaho Political Report we discuss:
End of Session Recap:
The Idaho Legislature adjourned the 2022 session on Thursday without overriding any of Gov. Brad Little’s vetoes, about 1:45 p.m. ending 81 contentious days at the State Capitol in Boise. “Sine die” is the Latin phrase legislators use to indicate they are adjourning without announcing a meaning “without day” to reconvene. The Legislature is only able to reconvene if the Governor calls them back into a special session.
The Senate tried and failed to override Governor Little’s veto of Senate Bill 1381, the Coronavirus Pause Act, which would have blocked COVID-19 vaccine requirements for a year. The Senate needed 24 votes to secure the two-thirds supermajority to override the veto but the effort failed 21-14.
Some highlights from this session included the largest tax cut in Idaho history ($600 million). One of the largest increases in K-12 public school spending (about $258 million), in state history. In addition to cutting taxes, legislators tapped into a projected $1.9 billion state budget surplus to pay off state debts, invest in rainy day savings accounts, and make investments in roads, bridges and other infrastructure projects.
Lawmakers now pivot to campaign season, as things really start to heat up for each of them back home. Legislators, state officials and political challengers are gearing up for a six-and-a-half-week sprint to the May 17 primaries. The winners of the party primaries advance to the Nov. 8 general election.
With all 105 seats in the Legislature and all statewide offices (including governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general) up for election this year, the 2022 elections will play a big role in shaping Idaho politics for years to come.
The 2023 legislative session is scheduled to begin Jan. 9, 2023 and there will be significant turnover with 28 legislative races that don’t have an incumbent due to redistricting and retirements for this year’s elections.
Comprehensive Legislative Summary
We have compiled a comprehensive list of all legislative activity for this session. You can view all bills that were introduced by topic or by using the filter at the top of the SUMMARY to see what the outcome was.
You can also see a BREAKDOWN of how all appropriations were distributed by topic and what the funding sources were. This was a historic year for revenue and spending with more money than ever before being injected into Idaho by the federal government.
Primary Election Debate Summary
Primary Election Debate Season
As we move closer to Idaho’s May 17th primary election date (now only 18 days away), televised debates for congressional and statewide offices begin to take place. Over the past couple of weeks we have seen five debates for statewide office take place and three high profile debates canceled because candidates chose not to participate. The three debates that were canceledare:
- Governor (Governor Brad Little canceled)
- Lieutenant Governor (Rep. Priscilla Giddings, R-White Bird canceled)
- Second Congressional District (US Rep. Mike Simpson canceled)
Governor – Gov. Brad Little’s campaign manager Hayden Rogers issued a statement April 15 announcing that Little would not participate in the scheduled GOP Gubernatorial debate, citing the “strongest economy in the nation” and a “proven track record” as reasons for not participating. In response, his main competitor and current Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin (R) indicated to debate organizers that she would not participate in the debate if Little didn’t. Lieutenant Governor – Organizers canceled the planned lieutenant governor’s debate scheduled for April 18 after Rep. Priscilla Giddings, R-White Bird, backed out of the debate after initially agreeing to participate and then demanding to approve the reporters who serve on the debate panel. Giddings primary opponent for lieutenant governor is current Speaker of the House Scott Bedke R-Oakley. Second Congressional District – U.S. Rep. Mike Simpson, R-Idaho, refused to debate his Republican opponent Bryan Smith, which prevented a debate among GOP hopefuls running in the second congressional district Republican primary. Simpson’s campaign said in a statement that he’s had joint appearances with Smith already, and said, “Republican voters don’t need to see anything more from Bryan Smith.” Debates that did take place for Idaho statewide races are:
- Superintendent of Public Instruction (twice)
- Idaho Attorney General
- Secretary of State (twice)
State Superintendent of Public Instruction – Incumbent Sherri Ybarra, Debbie Critchfield and Branden Durst debated for the Republican nomination, clashing on school policy and trading one-liners in two televised debates. The three GOP primary contenders put their campaign messaging on full display during the debates. Ybarra touted her seven years in office as the current state superintendent. Critchfield sold Ybarra’s perceived lack of leadership. Durst, a former Democratic state law maker turned hard right conservative, portrayed himself as an outsider in the field.
Idaho Attorney General – Incumbent Attorney General Lawrence Wasden is running against former U.S. Rep. Raul Labrador and Coeur d’Alene attorney Art Macomber in the Republican primary. Wasden, who has served six terms making him the state’s longest-serving attorney general, defended his record and said the federal and state constitutions guide his legal decisions. Candidates sparred over the validity of public health restrictions, the merits of lawsuits challenging the federal policies and other topics during a televised debate. Labrador, who is also a trial lawyer, gave up his congressional seat to run unsuccessfully for governor against now-Gov. Brad Little in 2018. During the debate Labrador said he would leverage his political experience and fight “big government overreach.” Macomber highlighted his outsider status, saying Wasden has “cozy relationships” with the “political class.” Macomber also called Labrador an “establishment candidate” who lacks the independence needed for the job.
Idaho Secretary of State – Three Republican candidates have faced off in two debates. Current Ada County Clerk Phil McGrane, Sen. Mary Souza and Rep. Dorothy Moon all participated in the televised debates. As the state’s chief elections officer, the secretary of state debate focused on election integrity, security in Idaho and the concerns surrounding the 2020 presidential election. Current Secretary of State Lawerence Denney is not seeking a third term so there is no incumbent in this race.
Campaign Finance Update
Campaign Finance Update
All totals have been calculated using data from the Idaho Secretary of State’s Office.
In the House of Representatives this election cycle, $1,841,583 has been donated to candidates and candidates have spent a total of $907,796. For more information on the House of Representatives’ donations and spending from January 1, 2020 to present, please click HERE. The top 5 Fundraisers are:
In this election cycle for the Idaho Senate, $1,288,376 has been donated to candidates and candidates have spent a total of $699,105. For more information on the Senate donations and spending from January 1, 2020 to present, please click HERE. The top 5 Fundraisers are:
In this election cycle for the Governor, $3,497,630 has been donated to candidates and candidates have spent a total of $ 1,937,594. For more information on the Governor race donations and spending from January 1, 2020 to present, please click HERE. The top 5 Fundraisers are:
In this election cycle for the Lieutenant Governor, $ 1,548,215 has been donated to candidates and candidates have spent a total of $534,854. For more information on the Lieutenant Governor race donations and spending from January 1, 2020 to present, please click HERE. The top 3 Fundraisers are:
In this election cycle for the Attorney General, $968,539 has been donated to candidates and candidates have spent a total of $370,063. For more information on the Attorney General race donations and spending from January 1, 2020 to present, please click HERE. The top 3 Fundraisers are:
In this election cycle for the Superintendent of Public Instruction, $364,984 has been donated to candidates and candidates have spent a total of $105,027. For more information on the Superintendent of Public Instruction race donations and spending from January 1, 2020 to present, please click HERE. The top 3 Fundraisers are:
In this election cycle for the Secretary of State, $ 652,396 has been donated to candidates and candidates have spent a total of $194,446. For more information on the Secretary of State race donations and spending from January 1, 2020 to present, please click HERE. The top 3 Fundraisers are:
We will report the results of the primary election in our next Industry Update.
National Political Updates
SOAR Act Passes Unanimously out of Senate Committee
The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee voted unanimously this week (May 3) to pass the Simplifying Outdoor Recreation Act to the Senate floor, incorporated fully into the America’s Outdoor Recreation Act of 2022. The SOAR Act is flagship legislation for the outfitting industry that America Outdoors, and other partners, including IOGA has been advocating for more than a decade (special shout out to IOGA members Greg McFadden and Zach Collier for their years long advocacy on this one on behalf of Idaho, and to past ED and historical badass, Grant Simonds, for the same).
As AOA recently commented, the SOAR Act has seen considerable success in the U.S. House, but this is the first time that it has been approved by the Senate ENR Committee. The committee has not passed recreation legislation of this magnitude since 1963.
Some other highlights underscored in the AOA press release:
The SOAR Act contains many provisions to improve the permitting policy for outfitters and for agencies on America’s public lands. As incorporated into America’s Outdoor Recreation Act, the SOAR Act:
- Directs agencies to allow the inclusion of substantially similar uses in a permit activity without additional environmental review.
- Modifies the Forest Service use review formula to the benefit of outfitters and rewards the surrender of unused days to a use pool when applicable.
- Allows operators to follow state law regarding liability agreements and directs agencies to have consistent policies regarding these agreements within two years.
- Directs public lands agencies to contemplate additional Categorical Exclusions to streamline the special recreation permitting process. A Categorical Exclusion is the least cumbersome level or environmental review.
- Ensures that programmatic environmental reviews or recreational uses are not subject to cost recovery from permitted outfitters.
Overtime Bill Introduced in the Senate
As many of our members know, IOGA has been supporting (and asking for your support, contacting our congressional delegation) an America Outdoors Assoc. effort regarding the incompatible nature of overtime requirements for our industry, and asking for support in a legislative remedy to this.
The push has been for a bill that would add a provision under the hours exception of the Fair Labor Standards Act, which would add seasonal recreation employees to the existing classes of exempt workers. On April 28, 2022, Senator Daines introduced, and Senator Sinema co-sponsored, Senate Bill 4092.
IOGLB & IDFG Rules
It’s a big year for rules and rule-making.
IOGLB Rules (<— Read this one!)
On the Outfitters and Guides Licensing Board (IOGLB) front, right now the board is working through redline drafts by obtaining feedback from all stakeholders—outfitters and guides, IOGA, and members of the public— through listening session and other means, and will conduct formal negotiated rule making starting June 15. Following that, the board will approve a redline draft to be published as proposed rules in the September bulletin. Once published, there is a 21 day comment period (on that proposed rule). From there, the board will have another negotiated rulemaking in the fall to develop a pending rule to come before the legislature. (Here again, a 21 day comment period follows.)
The key takeaways are these:
- These are the rules that do and will govern your business and profession. This is important.
- “The world is run by those who show up.” Your comments and participation in this process will determine the degree to which influence the outcome(s).
- Don’t get too stuck on the different stages of the rule making process (proposed, pending, etc.). The board will take and consider comments throughout this process and timeline, but the earlier the better.
Upcoming Meetings and Listening Sessions:
- The next Licensing Board meeting, which is an interim meeting on Zero Base Regulation, is June 7 from 8:30 am to 3:00pm MST. The desired outcome is to have a redline draft of rules to make available to the public (industry, etc.) for review in advance of the June 15 Negotiated rule making.
Zero Based Regulation public listening sessions:
- LEWISTON – 5/13/22 9-12 PT – Click HERE for additional information.
- SALMON – 5/24/22 9-1 MT – Click HERE for additional information.
- IDAHO FALLS – 5/25/22 9-1 MT – Click HERE for additional information.
IOGA Rule Comment Draft: Leading up to the Spring Meeting, the IOGA Board of Directors went through all of the OGLB rules to identify areas for potential change, discussion, addition, etc. During the BOD meeting itself, the Directors and staff discussed areas in rule for comments to be submitted (i.e., for proposed changes). The idea was and is to develop a comprehensive set of comments from the Association on the IOGLB rules, to the end of eventual (hopeful) incorporation into the OGLB’s proposed redline rule. These comments from IOGA would not and do not replace individual outfitter comments. Rather, they will serve as a foundation; a set of things that the industry can and has come to some degree of census around. In addition to IOGA comments, it is critical that individual outfitters and guides submit your own comments!
Here is a DRAFT document with draft(!) Association comments for member consideration and feedback.
Please let us know what you think, if you have questions, etc.
The Idaho Department of Fish & Game has published a notice of intent to promulgate rules — negotiated rule making in the April bulletin. As yet, meeting dates (one or more meetings) have not been scheduled, but will be posted once set.
The following is a statement in nontechnical language of the substance and purpose of the intended negotiated rulemaking and the principal issues involved:
This rulemaking balances outfitting industry and other economic and social interests in the Commission’s allocation of deer and elk tags for sale to outfitted hunters when the Commission sets tag limits for a zone, unit or hunt area with a history of outfitted hunter use.
Under consideration are rule changes related to allocation of general hunt deer or elk tags for a zone/unit with tag limits for nonresidents but unlimited for resident tags:
• Define an initial tag use number, based on verified outfitted hunter tag use history, which will remain the same for the zone/unit for subsequent consecutive years in which tag limits apply.
• Allocate, annually or for a two-year period, a number of deer or elk general hunt tags reserved for outfitted hunters in each zone/unit corresponding to the initial tag use number, before the Commission adopts annual or biennial tag nonresident tag limits for the zone/unit.
• Subtract the initial tag use number from the nonresident tag limit set for the zone/unit, after which the Commission may allocate an additional portion (not to exceed 50%) of tags remaining in the nonresident limit for outfitted hunter use based on verified tag use history in the two years preceding allocation.
• Make tags remaining after the allocation(s) for outfitted hunters available to nonresidents.
Read & Watch
“With every dropping snowflake that we’re getting in these April storms, the stoke level is rising rapidly for summer rafting and jet boating here in Idaho.”Read Steve Stuebner’s Blog
Idaho Climate-Economy Impacts Assessment
The Idaho Climate-Economy Impacts Assessment is a nonpartisan, science-based resource to help Idaho business leaders and policy makers plan for a productive, prosperous and resilient Idaho economy. This assessment connects the latest scientific research on Idaho’s changing climate with economic risks and opportunities that impact businesses, residents and local and state economies. In addition, the assessment seeks to inspire new collaborations, commitments and ongoing forums to leverage resources, encourage innovations and spur investments in Idaho solutions.
Spring 2022 Road Closure Update
Starting Thursday, May 19, closures on SH-55 between Smiths Ferry and the Rainbow Bridge will shorten from 4-hour closures to 2-hour closures. The new schedule will be 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. Monday – Thursday, and will continue through the end of May. Outside of those closures, there will still be one-way, alternating traffic with 15-minute delays.
Drivers should still anticipate longer delays once the road reopens at 12 p.m. to allow flaggers to clear queues on either side of the work zone. Once those lines are cleared, there should not be wait times longer that 15 minutes.
We appreciate your patience as we move through another spring season of construction work. To learn more about the spring construction schedule, visit itdprojects.org/ID55smithsferry.
Jenner Fox – “Buffalo”
Remember Peter Fox from the 2020 IOGA THAW Fundraiser? This |^| is his son… Good stuff.
We Need to Talk About Mental Health in the Mountains
Professional skier Drew Petersen opens up about his struggles with suicidal thoughts—and explains why talking about it is key to addressing the mental health crisis.
Salmon & Steelhead News
Inslee/Murray Study site (including comment links): https://www.lsrdoptions.org
Lewiston City Council votes no on dam resolution: LMT Article
May 13, 2022
IOGLB Listening Session
Jun May 17, 2022 (6-9 PM)
North Idaho Working Group Meeting
Idaho Falls and Zoom | This is a meeting of the North Idaho Working Group, a collaborative group making recommendations to the Idaho Panhandle National Forest regarding areas on the Forest that should be open or closed to over snow vehicles. https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86194108923
Jun May 17, 2022
Upper Snake Outfitter Meeting
Idaho Falls and Zoom |
Third Salmon Orca Summit
Life After the Dams: A Vision for the Columbia Basin & Lower Snake River
This in-person event will bring together industry experts, conservation advocates and tribal leaders in a format that encourages sharing of perspectives and experiences, and honoring the salmon who sustain the Pacific Northwest and our way of life. We are planning for two panel discussions, one that highlights the current impact of the dams, and one that constructs a vision for a future without them.
Panel #1: Impact of the Dams.
Joining us are:
Representative Debra Lekanoff as our moderator
Aaron Lieberman, the Executive Director of IOGA – Idaho Outfitters and Guides Association
Rocky Barker, Reporter and Author of Scorched Earth: How Fires of Yellowstone Changed America
The youth of Confederated Tribes of Umatilla Indian Reservation: Nizhoni Toledo, Lindsey Littlesky-Pasena, and Keyen Singer
May 20-22, 2022
Idaho River Rendezvous
Stanley, ID | https://www.idahoriverrendezvous.org | After two years of social distancing, we are looking forward to seeing our river family once again to celebrate the river, the outdoors, and each other at the Mountain Village Resort in Stanley, Idaho! Bring your boat and a friend and join us on May 20th-22nd to have a weekend of river fun and personal growth. As with past years, the 2022 IRR will be a time for guides to get together on the river to talk about mental and physical health, professional development, and river awareness and conservation. We are happy to welcome several guest speakers and workshop leaders that will be bringing their knowledge and expertise to those attending, and it wouldn’t be complete without a Saturday night River Celebration band to bring it all together!
June 4, 2022
Big Water Blowout!
Riggins, ID | Join us in Riggins Saturday June 4th, 2022 for rafting on the Salmon River, Dutch oven cooking and live music from Scott Pemberton at the Riggins city park. Dutch oven set up at 2, cooking starts at 3, judging starts at 6 Music at 7 Check it out on FB
May 24, 2022 | 9am – 1pm
IOGLB Listening Session
Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness Outfitting and Guide Business for Sale
This Outfitting and Guide business operates with a permit from the U.S. National Forest Service. This listing is for an Outfitting and Guide business and no land or real estate transfers with the sale.
This outfitting and guide business has been well run and has been profitable for decades. This second-generation family run business has been their primary lifestyle for many years. The outfit operates in approximately 250 square miles of the Selway Bitterroot Wilderness and the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest. Hunters, many of which are repeat loyal customers, are flown into the Moose Creek USFS Airport via charter flights and then are taken via horse back to one of several remote, yet comfortable, backcountry wilderness camps. Other access to the area is via a 27-30 mile pack trip. Clients enjoy first-rate backcountry gear, excellent food, amazing service and a lot of fun!
The guided hunting consists of Elk, Deer, Bear, Mountain Lion, and Wolf. These are remote, rugged, wilderness fair-chase hunts. This outfitter has self-implemented a six-point or better rule and 340+ bulls are a possibility. Tag allocation allows for guided hunts for deer and elk to occur during their rut. The excellent game population and low hunter numbers create an opportunity for trophy game.
The area boasts a great Mountain Lion population and this outfitter has guided numerous hunters to a Boon & Crocket cat. Bears are also in abundance and the Idaho Department of Fish & Game allow two bear tags per hunter in this area. With the abundance of bear there is also a variety of color phases. Bear can be hunted over bait, with dogs, or via spot and stalk.
The outfit has 700 permitted use days, four assigned camp sites, and 40 AUMs for grazing. The outfit is allocated 24 elk tags and 35 deer tags (mule deer or whitetail deer). Additional elk tags are available through Idaho’s capped tag program for both residents and non-residents and through the outfitter pool. Additional deer tags are available through the general season deer tag applications.
This outfit comes with all the required equipment needed to run the hunting camps and 17 head of livestock will transfer to a new owner who can and will care for the livestock. Sale of this business is subject to the National Forest use permits being vacated by the current owner and re-assigned to the new buyer.
Contact the listing agent, Todd Dye, at 208-317-0934 or [email protected] for information on profit and loss. This Outfitting and Guide business has produced a net income that exceeds both the median and mean household income for Idaho in 2020.
Make between $4,000 and $8,000 this summer, depending on how much you work.Summer Job Openings, both Office and Shop work available. Pay is $12-$15/hour DOE. 30-40 hours/week, schedule WILL include some weekend work. Strong preference for candidates 18+ years old, but will consider responsible high schoolers with solid work experience. Email [email protected] with resume and job interest to get started.
Idaho Commerce is Hiring
We have an opening in our department for a Grants/Contract Officer, which would be the program manager for the ITC Grant. We also have another new job opening for a Grants/Contracts Specialist, who will help ensure grant payments are timely and processed quickly, bringing the number of people on my team to 4. The job postings close May 6th but will remain open until filled.
Grants/Contracts Officer: https://www.governmentjobs.com/careers/idaho/jobs/3523348/grants-contracts-officer
Grants/Contracts Specialist: https://www.governmentjobs.com/careers/idaho/jobs/3523393/grants-contracts-program-specialist
Ducks Unlimited Auction in August: The national trip auction will run from Aug 18th-27th, 2022 and will include trips and experiences such as hunting, fishing, rafting, vacations, or other unique experiences from all over the world. This is a fundraiser for Ducks Unlimited and they are looking for donated trips or may entertain a partial purchase or trade depending on the trip or experience. This is an opportunity for Idaho outfitters to get exposure on a national, and even continental level through Ducks Unlimited, Inc, Ducks Unlimited Canada, and Ducks Unlimited Mexico. If interested please contact Mond Warren <[email protected]> by July 15th.
Hunt Outfitting Business For Sale: Korell Outfitters is selling a portion of the business on the South Fork Payette. Comes with guaranteed tags and summer recreation opportunities. Read More. Contact Chris Korell at (208)484-1787 for questions.
ADA-Accessible Adventure: Idaho Tourism is putting together a list of outfitters who currently offer ADA accessible experiences. If you already have ADA accessible trips, or could easily put together an experience, please email Andrea Rayburn (Tourism Specialist), [email protected]
Focus Group on Federal online Permits/Contracts: Sheri Hughes is looking for commercial operators to be part of a focus group. Give your opinion on the way commercial activities are managed by different agencies. Contact Sheri at [email protected]