BOISE, Idaho (AP) — One of the nation’s most patriotic holidays is right around the corner, bringing not only a jump in outdoor cookouts but also a slew of new state laws ready to go into effect.
Starting July 1, a new fiscal year kicks off in Idaho. This means the state will begin implementing new budget and new policy.
The laws set to take effect this year include allowing guns on public college campuses, renewing a tax rebate for films shot in the state and creating a new fund to kill wolves.
Some laws that were passed during this legislative session are already in effect, including one punishing those who secretly film agricultural operations. Known as the “ag-gag” law, lawmakers allowed the legislation to kick in immediately after receiving the governor’s signature.
Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter signed more than 350 bills this year and lawmakers amended nearly 500 sections of code.
Here’s a roundup of some of key pieces of legislation:
—WOLVES: This new law calls for a five-member oversight board that would manage an annual budget of $400,000 to kill wolves that prey on livestock. The members would be made up of directors from the state Department of Fish and Game and Department of Agriculture, as well as representatives from the livestock industry, public at large and sportsmen.
—GUNS ON CAMPUS: Despite opposition from every public university college president, lawmakers passed legislation allowing concealed weapons on college and university campuses. The law prohibits gun holders, however, from bringing their weapons into dormitories or buildings that hold more than 1,000 people, such as stadiums or concert halls. College officials have spent the past weeks enhancing new security measures which have been estimated to cost more than $6.2 million.
—PAYDAY LOAN REFORM: Starting July 1, payday loan borrowers will have the option of dividing the loan into four payments instead of paying it back all at once. The law —sponsored by state Sen. Lee Heider, R-Twin Falls— also bars lenders from tacking on additional interest fees once the extended payment plan started.
—WATER SUSTAINABILITY: After July 1, a portion of Idaho’s cigarette tax will funnel into projects dedicated to sustain and protect the state’s underground water sources.
—WASTEWATER PERMITTING: This law will allow the state to issue wastewater-quality permits instead of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The shift costs $300,000, and rises to $2.5 million per year by 2022. However, proponents of the law said that the change was needed because EPA’s regulations were too limiting and inflexible for Idaho.
—FILM REBATE: The law renews a film tax rebate that has never been used in the state due to a lack of funding. Lawmakers created the credit in 2008 but have yet to ever appropriate any funding. To take advantage of the credit, film producers must promise to spend at least $200,000 on production in Idaho and 35 percent of the production crew must be Idahoans.
—INCREASED SPEED LIMITS, MAYBE: Speed limits on rural Idaho freeways were supposed to increase from 75 mph to 80 mph starting July 1. However, state transportation officials announced Friday they want more time to study safety concerns that were raised ever since the department began raising awareness the change was coming this summer. The agency said it wanted to wait until they presented speed and crash analysis to the Idaho Transportation Board on July 11.