Source: Ryan McGoldrick, April 6, 2023
Now that the 2023 Idaho legislative session has adjourned, here is a summary of the status of cleantech related bills.
H24 would create the Idaho Launch Grant Program, a $102M program to provide graduating Idaho students with $8,500 grants to pursue in-demand careers. This would be critical for the workforce needs of the quickly growing CleanTech industries in Idaho. After narrowly passing the House 36-34, it was delayed in the Senate for weeks before receiving minor edits and passing by only 5 votes. Governor Little signed the bill into law on March 28th.
H189, H190, and H191 all intended to ban Idaho businesses and financial institutions from participating in ESG. While the H189 died in committee, the other two were signed into law by Governor Little. These laws create new red tape for businesses and allow the Treasurer significant power to decide if businesses are acting in the interests of Idaho. They could also cost the state financially.
H96 changes the Idaho Energy Resources Act from funding renewable energy projects to funding clean energy projects, slightly altering the types of projects that can be funded. With support from Republicans and many Democrats, it was signed into law in mid-March.
H106 would preempt cities and counties from banning certain utility connections. This is a response to Eugene, OR banning natural gas connections in new builds. No Idaho community had expressed interest in similar bans. It is unclear whether this law will limit Boise’s ability to expand their geothermal network.
H287 was introduced late in the session to further preempt the ability of local governments to implement local energy efficiency measures. Unfortunately, this bill is worded ambiguously and the impacts to other energy efficiency programs and to municipal utilities like Idaho Falls Power is unclear. It was signed by Governor Little at the end of last week.
H337 makes a significant number of changes to Idaho electrical statutes. This legislation comes after years of debate and negotiations from legislators, builders, and unions and includes the creation of the Idaho Electrical Code, the adoption of the 2023 National Electric Code, and changes to apprenticeships. The legislation received unanimous approval and was signed by Governor Little on the 31st.