Bryan Zollinger serves as a representative in the Idaho State Legislature, serving District 33B in Idaho Falls. He is a native of Rexburg, Idaho and worked as an attorney prior to his legislative service. Zollinger joined Neal Larson and Julie Mason on KID Newsradio to give a legislative update.
Listen to the full interview below:
IDAHO FALLS, Idaho — A dead bill has been revived in the Idaho Legislature just days before the legislative body is set to end their 2018 session.
In a last minute move by House Health and Welfare Committee revived House Bill 464, a bill designed to give low-income Idahoans better access to healthcare coverage. Representative Bryan Zollinger, who represents Idaho Legislative District 33B, said House Bill 464 was essentially dead before the committee decided to send the bill back to the floor for debate.
“Just before our last meeting meeting a the year just, before the gavel hit the table Representative Christy Perry, who’s running for Congress, made a motion that’s typically considered hostile to call that out of committee back to the floor,” Representative Bryan Zollinger, who represents Idaho Legislative District 33B, told KID Newsradio. “It wasn’t on the agenda, we debated that. Everyone was caught off surprised and it got out of committee seven-five and it’s headed back to the floor…it’s going be a battle.”
The bill comes with a steep price tag though. At a $100 million bill to tax payers Zollinger said the proposal faces an uphill battle against the Republican lead house since it goes against every principle conservatives hold to.
“I think again it’s going to go down,” Zollinger said. “The majority of Republicans, overwhelming majority of Republicans don’t want it...it goes against everything that any conservative I think believes and I mean, you look at the Republican party platforms and ‘government controls healthcare’ is definitely not one of our fundamental platforms.”
One struggle, Zollinger said, comes as legislators debate how to help low-income Idahoans using a budget that’s already pulling a massive amount of funding from tax payers.
“It’s a bad plan,” Zollinger said. “There are solutions out there. Every wants to help these people. The problem is our Medicaid, our health and welfare budget right now is $3.14 billion. By far, the largest budget we have and we just can’t continue spending that. We have to pull from education, other areas, just to fund that budget as it is now.”
The revitalization of the health care bill is prime example of a trend during this year’s legislative session. Committee chairman have continued to shelf bills throughout the session, veritably signing death certificates for bill after bill. Among the most controversial, Zollinger said, include the CDB oil proposal and a bill addressing castle doctrine in Idaho.
“The House, it’s been a lot better,” Zollinger said. “We’ve had our bills heard and passed, but bills getting over to the Senate have been stuck in committee chairman’s drawers again, which is unfortunate. The CBD oil bill, is a hot topic for a long time, cleared with overwhelming support has been stuck in a drawer.”
State officials project the 2018 legislative session to end on March 23.