July 1 marks the beginning of a new fiscal year in the State of Idaho. It doesn’t just mean new budgets, it also means that a flurry of new bills signed during the last session are due to go into effect. These are five you should be aware of. 

Access to Contraception

Contraceptives Must Be Covered By Company''s Health Plan
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After the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, Idaho enacted some of the most restrictive abortion laws in the United States. The way the ban was written has even the best healthcare providers confused. Abortions can be performed in the Gem State in the case of rape or incest (if it’s been reported to the police) or to prevent the death of the mother. Health.com lists several situations where a pregnancy may not be immediately fatal for the mother, but could put her at risk of a medical emergency that would severely diminish her quality of life. The US Supreme Court just ruled that for now, Idaho physicians are allowed to perform emergency abortions in their home state. 

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With these laws in place, women have a lot to think about when it comes to having children. Under a new law, women who are confident that now is not the right time for them to be pregnant will have easier access to a bigger supply of birth control pills. When Senate Bill 1234 becomes law on July 1, insurance companies will have to give enrollees the opportunity to receive up to a six month supply of prescribed contraception. Before the law went into effect, most plans only cover a one or three month supply of birth control pills. 

The exception? If the enrollee has never been prescribed contraception before. The law says:

“If the enrollee has never been prescribed prescription contraception; then the provider shall provide a smaller supply.”

No Public Money Shall Be Used for Gender Transition

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Governor Little signed House Bill 668 on March 27 and it goes into effect on July 1. Under this law, the State of Idaho will not allow taxpayer dollars to be used for treatments or surgeries that would change the appearance of an individual’s sex in any way that’s not consistent with their biological sex. That means people on Idaho Medicaid or a state insurance plan cannot use their coverage for gender affirming care. It also means that the procedures can’t be done at government-owned facilities. 

Government Employees Do Not Have to Use Preferred Pronouns

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When someone makes it known to you that they’d like to be addressed by pronouns contrary to the ones they were naturally assigned at birth, it can be a challenge to master the new lingo immediately. Even if you completely understand and want to respect their wishes, sometimes you may let a “she/her” slip out instead of a “they/them.” Under House Bill 538, anyone who works for a government entity in Idaho doesn’t have to try to use the requested pronouns if it doesn't feel right.  

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The new law applies to people working for the state, counties, municipalities, public universities, community colleges, school districts, special districts and other political subdivisions of or within the state. These employees and students won’t face consequences for failing to acknowledge employees or students by different pronouns or names different than the person’s legal name.

Teachers will also be prohibited from addressing minor students with pronouns/names contrary to the ones assigned at birth without written consent from the student’s parents or guardian. 

Idaho’s “Library Porn Bill”

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Keith Levit

One of Idaho’s public libraries will no longer allow anyone under the age of 18 to visit their library after July 1 and it’s because of House Bill 710 which is now in place. Donnelly Public Library is taking a better safe than sorry approach and is now 18 & up. While critics have called this bill the ”library porn bill” the legislature called it the “The Children’s School and Library Protection Act.”

Under this new law obscene materials depicting nudity, sexual conduct, sexual excitement and sado-masochistic abuse must be kept in a separate area of the library that minors cannot access. Sexual conduct includes acts of homosexuality. Parents who believe their child got their hands on materials like this in a section of the library they can get to, can file a complaint. If the library doesn’t relocate the obscene material within 60 days, parents can pursue a $250 lawsuit. 

A New Specialty License Plate

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Last year, we put together a list of the most popular specialty license plates in Idaho and explained which groups they benefitted. Starting July 1, you’ll have a new option. The legislature approved a new “Don’t Tread on Me” license plate. The State Board of Education will be this plate’s beneficiary and the funds generated from it will be used for firearms safety education. 

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