Scott Herndon’s 2023 Legislative Session in the Idaho Senate.

Thursday April 6, the Idaho Senate and House convened to consider the governor’s veto of H 314. This was to be the last act of this legislative session. H 314 barred public libraries and schools from making obscene materials available to children under the age of 18.

The definition of obscene materials is already found in Idaho criminal code, and if you provide such materials to your neighbor’s kid, you can be charged with a crime. But, in that same section of code libraries and schools are exempted from criminal penalties.

H 314 would not have banned books, but it would have prevented government owned libraries from providing obscene materials to children and would have required they take reasonable steps to prevent such materials from being made available to children.

Rather than a criminal penalty, the bill provided for civil liability to parents and their children and liability for statutory damages, In other words, parents could file a lawsuit against libraries and schools that violated the law. This is the same remedy mechanism we just placed in the successful school bathroom bill, where males use male designated restrooms only, and females use their own.

The schools and library lobby prevailed upon the governor to veto the bill. In the original vote on the bill, the senate had the required 2/3 majority to override a veto if it came to us for a veto override, but since it was a House Bill, the override vote started in the House. Their override attempt failed by 1 vote, but frankly word behind the scenes is that some Republicans only voted for the override for political cover, knowing they didn’t have the actual 47 votes to override.

The bill died for the year, and children are not yet protected from the aggressive grooming by sexualized materials that are in Idaho libraries and are targeted at our children. The goal of the predators is to normalize sex with adults for our minor children. We will try to protect children again next year, so please be praying and strategizing with us for that effort.


My Personal Wins for this session

I sponsored the following legislation that passed and will now be Idaho law:

• H124 is about election integrity and will prohibit the use of student identification at the polls for voter verification. Idaho Freedom Caucus member Representative Tina Lambert started this legislation in the House.
• H97 is a transparency bill that will require that all contracts entered into by state agencies be listed and searchable on the State Controller’s Transparent Idaho website. Idaho Freedom Caucus member Representative Heather Scott started this legislation in the House.
• H66 creates a new misdemeanor crime for anyone who knowingly files a false report of child abuse or neglect.
• HJM5 requests that the federal government remove the grizzly bear from management under the Endangered Species Act. Thank you to Bonners Ferry resident Darcy Lammers for the work on this.
• S1036 removes a misdemeanor criminal penalty for violating the state’s raw milk regulations. The bill also reduces excessive regulations of the raw milk industry.
• S1021 stops the Priest Lake Siphon project that was being pursued by the Idaho Department of Fish and Game since 2014, and it preserves the Priest Lake water level and outlet dam as the only authorized outlet of the lake.
• S1016 bans the state from requiring our public works contractors to allow the use of their bathroom facilities on the basis of “gender identity”. That requirement was courtesy of President Obama but is now blocked by S1016, and this problem was brought to me by Bonner County resident and contractor Lou Munilla.
• S1005 requires licensed daycare facilities to tell parents that they can opt their kids out of vaccination requirements for any reason.
• S1010 benefits truck drivers and farm equipment as to where they need to turn out when they are moving slower than the normal speed of traffic.


My Personal Losses for this session

I sponsored the following legislation that failed this session:

• I introduced draft legislation to eliminate the exception contained in our criminal abortion ban that allows mothers who allege rape and incest to have those children killed. The Senate State Affairs committee refused to even print a bill, with Republican senators Mark Harris and Jim Guthrie abstaining from voting, Republican Treg Bernt voting with the two Democrats against the legislation and Idaho Freedom Caucus member Republican Senator Ben Toews in favor of advancing the legislation.

Freedom Caucus member Senator Dan Foreman was my co-sponsor, and I later debated the idea on the Senate floor as seen in the video below.

• S1004 was never heard in committee but accumulated over 30 House and Senate sponsors and would have improved Idaho’s Stand Your Ground laws. Basically, if you stood your ground but were prosecuted anyway, the bill would have given you the right to a pretrial self-defense immunity hearing with the hope that the prosecution would be abandoned. If you proceeded to trial but were found not guilty by reason of self defense, it would have entitled you to a judgment in the criminal action for fees associated with your defense and loss of freedom and time.

• S1025 would have eliminated the marriage license and failed on the senate floor 16-17-2 but succeeded among Republican senators 16-10. I have an idea for how to proceed with this legislation again next year.

• S1050 would have required the Department of Health & Welfare to notify parents of their constitutional rights in a CPS investigation, such as the right to refuse entry to your home, hire an attorney and refuse the examination and questioning of your children. It was held in committee on a tie vote, but I see a change that may prevail and see it advance to the senate floor next year.


Other Highlights of the Session

In the debate on House Bill 374, regarding abortion, I discussed the constitutional right to life of all human beings, and particularly I discussed three people I know whose fathers were rapists.


A certain former Republican legislator who scored poorly on conservative ratings has complained lately that the Idaho Freedom Foundation rates bills based only on the text of the bills and then scores legislators based on how they vote on those bills. Lo and behold so do many other organizations!

One example is the American Conservative Union, whose ratings for this most recent legislative session are not yet released, but following are my ratings for a number of these scorecards. I will let you decide whether this means I represented you well.

My starting philosophy is that I am an immediate skeptic of new governmental programs and the unnecessary growth of government and governmental control.

I was the top rated legislator on the Idaho Freedom Foundation ratings for the 2023 session. First position among all 105 Senate and House members:

I ranked pretty low on the IACI scorecard. They are the Idaho Association of Commerce and Industry. They rated me negatively because they badly wanted amnesty for illegal immigrants to be used as farm laborers in SJM101. I opposed that. 

They also wanted the governor’s corporate cronyism bill H24 the Idaho Launch program, which was to redistribute your taxes that the government forced from you to pay for $8,000 grants for EVERY high school graduate in Idaho so that they could be trained for IACI member company job needs. It is basically corporate welfare, and of course I voted against it.

IACI owns the Idaho Prosperity Fund which spent $135k against me in the last election cycle, so there is that too. Here is my IACI score – I am in the basement with all of the most conservative Idaho legislators, whereas the Democrats rank at the top of the IACI ratings: