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Politics & Government

Idaho higher education budget clears the House

The dome of the Idaho Statehouse at sunset with an American flag and Idaho flag.
James Dawson
Boise State Public Radio

Idaho’s higher education budget cleared the House on its first try this year. That’s after far-right lawmakers tried to torpedo the bill over accusations of indoctrination.

House Republicans have swatted down the budget for Idaho’s colleges and universities multiple times over the past couple of years.

They’ve accused the schools of forcing students to accept socialist ideologies while presenting little to no evidence to back up those claims.

Investigations by multiple universities into their own practices have cleared them of such allegations.

But Rep. Vito Barbieri (R-Dalton Gardens) pointed to job postings that require applicants to submit a statement about their commitment to diversity.

“Can you see how this might exclude a large number of instructors who might not have that same ideology?” Barbieri asked.

Rep. Ron Nate (R-Rexburg) attempted to cut $1.3 million from Boise State University, Idaho State University and University of Idaho earlier this month as the bill was being written. That would've been in addition to a $2.5 million cut passed by state lawmakers in 2021.

Nate's effort failed with only Rep. Priscilla Giddings (R-White Bird) supporting the move.

House Majority Caucus Chair Megan Blanksma (R-Hammett) said she’ll never endorse anything Boise State University does. But she urged lawmakers to visit the schools if they have concerns instead of tanking the budget.

“They’ve given you an invitation to walk in the door,” said Blanksma. “They’ve given you an opportunity to go take a look for yourself and I would say that’s the best thing you can do.”

The bill, which boosts higher education spending by $25 million, now goes to the Senate for consideration.

Follow James Dawson on Twitter @RadioDawson for more local news.

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