A flurry of bills and resolutions were introduced into the House on Friday morning, including ones to reject pending rules letting transgender people change their birth certificates and requiring meningitis vaccinations for high school seniors, and ones to further Democratic priorities such as raising the minimum wage and electing the president by popular vote.

Friday was the deadline to introduce "personal bills," or bills that don't have to go through the regular committee process. While bills introduced this way traditionally are unlikely to pass or even get a hearing, they are a way for lawmakers to take a public stance on a topic.

Two resolutions were introduced to reject pending administrative rules. One, from Rep. Priscilla Giddings, R-White Bird, would reject a new rule requiring meningitis shots for high school seniors. Another, from Rep. Heather Scott, R-Blanchard, would reject a rule the state is adopting, in response to losing a lawsuit, to let transgender people change their sex on their birth certificates. There is a high bar to reject a rule change once a committee has approved it — both the House and Senate need to adopt resolutions doing so.

House Minority Leader Mat Erpelding, D-Boise, called for term limits for members of Congress, and Rep. Melissa Wintrow, D-Boise, proposed an equal rights amendment to the state Constitution.

Nine bills were introduced Friday, all from Democrats. They include:

  • One from House Assistant Minority Leader Ilana Rubel, D-Boise, to join the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, an agreement among states to work around the Electoral College by giving their electoral votes to whoever wins the most votes nationwide. It would take effect whenever enough states to have an electoral college majority sign up. As of earlier this month the mostly Democratic states that have joined have 172 electoral votes between them, well short of the 270 needed, although bills are pending in numerous states.
  • One from Rubel to register people to vote automatically when they apply for a new driver's license, unless they specifically opt out. 
  • Two more from Rubel, to repeal a law banning cities and counties from raising the minimum wage on their own and to repeal one banning them from regulating plastic bags or other packaging. The Legislature passed both of these restrictions in 2016.
  • One from Rep. John McCrostie, D-Garden City, to ban "conversion therapy" for gay and transgender children.
  • One from Rep. Sue Chew, D-Boise, to gradually raise Idaho's minimum wage, which is currently set at the federal rate of $7.25 an hour, to $12 an hour by July 1, 2021. The minimum for tipped employees would go from $3.35 an hour to $7.35 an hour over the same period.

Last week was the deadline for personal bills in the Senate. There was one, from Sen. Maryanne Jordan, D-Boise, to add anti-discrimination protections for gay and transgender people to Idaho's human rights law.

Reporter Nathan Brown can be reached at 208-542-6757. Follow him on Twitter: @NateBrownNews.

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