Legislation to limit how much the Idaho Department of Fish and Game has to pay ranchers and farmers for damage to crops caused by elk, deer and other big game has been signed into law by Republican Gov. Brad Little.
Little last week signed the bill that would cap the amount paid for any single claim at 10 percent of the money in the Expendable Big Game Depredation Trust Account.
Backers say the cap is needed because a claim recently came in for $1 million, enough to wipe out the fund and eliminate smaller payments to others.
Those opposed to the bill say it lets Fish and Game off the hook when it comes to paying for damage to crops caused by big game.
Legislation that would allow people to transport hemp through Idaho if they first get a permit from the Idaho Department of Agriculture director has won the approval of a House committee.
The legislation sponsored by Republican Reps. Judy Boyle of Midvale and Caroline Nilsson Troy of Genesee, would treat the transportation of hemp similarly to how the state treats the transportation of livestock, with out-of-state carriers required to get a permit and then comply with Idaho State Police checkpoints at specific state entry points.
Phil Haunschild with the Idaho Freedom Foundation testified against the bill, saying its intent was noble but that it would cause problems for companies and truckers who ship hemp from state to state under their own state permits and don’t realize Idaho has its own special rules.
Legislation that supporters say is critical to preserving a historic water agreement between two sets of water users and is intended to prevent declines in a giant Idaho aquifer relied on by farmers and cities is heading to the governor.
The House voted 67-0 on Monday to approve the bill to give the state additional authority to cut off water to groundwater pumpers ignoring the agreement.
The 2015 agreement is intended to stabilize the level of the Lake Erie-sized Eastern Snake Plain Aquifer so that surface users and groundwater pumpers have a reliable source of water.
Republican House Speaker Scott Bedke after the vote said the legislation is important because the state has invested so much and all the participants in the agreement must carry their fair share.
The bill passed the Senate earlier this month 33-1.