Idaho House Approves Bill To Restrict Bond Levies

Jan 31, 2020

House lawmakers have signed off on a bill that would limit entities like school districts from running a failed bond levy within the same year.

Rep. Heather Scott (R-Blanchard) said her proposal is pretty simple.

“This bill just addresses aggressive taxing districts that keep re-running a bond over and over until they get the answer they want,” Scott said.

Her bill would bar the same bond from running within 11 months. Right now, school districts can put up bond issues for infrastructure projects to voters up to four times a year.

But Rep. Ryan Kerby (R-New Plymouth), who’s a former school superintendent, has a different solution: Voters should kick out their school board members if they don’t want to repeatedly see the same measure at the ballot box.

“If they’re running it too often, get rid of them rather than running off to the legislature and trying to get big brother to make a fix because you’re not willing to make the fix yourself,” Kirby said.

Bond measures have a high bar to pass in Idaho. They need a two-thirds majority and several school districts in recent years have run multiple times, despite getting upwards of 60% approval.

Most of Idaho’s neighboring states only require a simple majority to pass a bond measure, while Washington requires 60%.

A similar bill passed the Idaho House last year, but was blocked in the Senate, where this one is headed next.

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