Barbara Ehardt, Bryan Zollinger at BSU forum

Reps. Barbara Ehardt, left, and Bryan Zollinger, right, both Idaho Falls Republicans, have sponsored a bill to set 16 as the minimum age for marriage and limit marriages of 16- and 17-year-olds to people within three years of each other in age.

BOISE — A bill to set a minimum marriage age of 16 is headed to the Idaho Senate.

The House voted 55-2 Friday to pass the bill. Sponsored by Reps. Barbara Ehardt and Bryan Zollinger, both R-Idaho Falls, the bill would also limit 16- and 17-year-olds to marrying someone within three years of them in age. Idaho is one of about a dozen states that has no minimum marriage age currently.

The House voted down a similar bill in 2019. The difference between this one and last year’s, which was sponsored by Rep. Melissa Wintrow, D-Boise, is that Wintrow’s would have required a judge to sign off for a 16- or 17-year-old to marry. Zollinger and Ehardt’s would only require parental consent, which is the current law.

The House also voted unanimously to pass a bill sponsored by Rep. Chad Christensen, R-Ammon, to ban registered sex offenders from living within 500 feet of a child care. Current law only bans them from living within 500 feet of a school. The bill would exempt people living at a homeless shelter or drug treatment facility located within 500 feet of a school, as well as sex offenders who are living in their residence before the law takes effect.

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