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End of Session Review by Rep. Christy Zito

Many times in my interactions with our citizens I heard the words “we are in this together”

End of Session Review
photo: Tony Baril

End of Session Review

By Representative Christy Zito

On March 28, 2018 the Second Regular Session of the Sixty-fourth legislature of the State of Idaho went Sine Die at 5:19 pm.  The legislature stayed in session a exactly five days after the last bill reached the Governor’s desk.

Citizens from our district had a tremendous impact on legislation was passed in to law this session, two bills I sponsored were citizen initiated.  Senate Bill 1324, Cosmetology/Barber reform legislation is the first of what will be many licensure reform changes.  Licensure reform will be addressed by an interim committee that will review and recommend changes in our statutes. Work on S1324 started before the Sixty-fourth session began in the summer of 2017.  Make-up artist and stylists in our district initiated the conversation that became the reform.  The board of Barbers, and the board of Cosmetologists along with many other stakeholders spent two years sorting out what would become this final piece of legislation.  For me it was a monumental day to be able to present this bill on the floor of the Idaho House of Representatives, see it receive a unanimous approval, and then move on for the signature of the Governor.

Senate Bill 1314, is another change in statute that will provide justice, a citizen of our district came to me with a problem and we were able to go to work to change the statute to remove what could potentially be a roadblock for employment and or licensing. The ability to have arrest information removed from one’s record, or those records sealed when there is no conviction is a giant step in insuring the liberty of the people of our state.  Thank you to those who step up and share their stories and point out problems that exist in current code.  Also thank you to Senator Burgoyne, Mark Manweiler, and Andrew Masser, of the Defense Attorney Association for their hard work and example in making this legislation happen.

Because of your desire for stronger Stand your Ground/Castle Doctrine, and your continued support we were able to get a print hearing for what became H444.  This legislation would protect those who are in a situation where they are forced to use deadly force to protect life from hostile aggression.  I worked hard to advance House Bill 444, and though H444 did not receive its full hearing in the House State Affairs committee, we were able to keep the pressure on and Senate Bill 1313 was created and passed in to law.  S1313 codifies jury instruction and some case law.  It is not as protective as we would like to see, it is a step in the right direction and we will work just as hard next session to enact the protections that the citizens of our state deserve.  I know of two men who are now serving sentences in Idaho prisons because the current law did not protect them when they were positioned to defend themselves with deadly force.  This has to be corrected.  It is your God given right, protected by the constitution to defend your life.

House Bill 443 encourages public schools to offer an elective course in gun safety training and authorize instructors who will teach the courses.  House Bill 565 was successful legislation that will allow retired law enforcement who have a special 518 Concealed Carry card to carry firearms on K-12 school grounds, College dorms, residence halls and event halls that hold over 1,000 people, this will add to the ability to protect our students.

So far in fiscal year 2018 our state has enjoyed $400 million above expected tax collections.  It is time to give some of this back to the families of Idaho.  Citizens received a small tax cut, $174 per household.  I supported legislation that would have provided a larger cut of $280 per household, this bill was not given a hearing, however Representative Nate proposed a trailer bill to increase the child tax credit and provide relief for Idahoans with larger families.  Leadership used Nate’s, idea and our citizens ended up with $129.5 million in tax relief this year.

Progress was made in the important pro-life battle by passing two bills that become law on July 1st of this year.  The Abortions Complications Reporting Act (HB638) requires every hospital, licensed health care facility or individual medical practitioner to report to the Idaho Department of Health & Welfare on the health complications arising from the performance of abortions.  Senate Bill 1243 requires the Department of Health &Welfare to inform women of the availability of an abortion reversal pill in case they change their mind within 48 hours after deciding to take their babies life by a chemical abortion.  Approximately 1200 babies are aborted in the state of Idaho each year.  We must continue to work to save these lives.  Each life is precious from conception to natural death.

Though the session is over, I want to hear from you, many times in my interactions with our citizens I heard the words “we are in this together”.  To be your voice has been a privilege, it is a job I do not take lightly or for granted.

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