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House panel introduces bill banning some public lobbying

An Idaho House panel has introduced legislation banning state agencies, universities and school districts from hiring lobbyists to influence state lawmakers.

Rep. Priscilla Giddings, a Republican from White Bird, says taxpayer dollars should not be used to advocate for a bill’s passage or defeat.

Multiple taxing districts across the state hire lobbyists using public funds to represent their interests while lawmakers meet in Boise during the legislative session.

Most recently, Blaine County School District faced scrutiny last year after deciding to hire a lobbyist. At the time, it was the only school district in the state to do so.

Giddings’ bill does not include political subdivisions – meaning cities, counties, water boards and highway commissions would still be allowed to hire lobbyists.

The House State Affairs Committee introduced Giddings’ bill on Thursday. It must now clear a hearing.

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