IDAHO LEGISLATIVE UPDATE: abortion ban, smoking age, nullification of federal rules and actions

FILE - In this Feb. 26, 2018, file photo, an American flag hangs inside the rotunda of the Idaho Capitol in Boise, Idaho. (AP Photo/Kimberlee Kruesi, File)

BOISE, Idaho (AP)

‘FETAL HEARTBEAT’ ABORTION BAN

The Idaho Senate passed a bill that would outlaw nearly all abortions in the state by banning them once fetal cardiac activity can be detected.

The so-called “fetal heartbeat” bill passed Tuesday 28-7 on a party-line vote. Bill sponsor Sen. Patti Anne Lodge, a Republican from Huston, said a fetal heartbeat is a sign that life exists and that she believes the state has a compelling interest in protecting that life.

Cardiac activity can be detected as early as six weeks, before many women discover they are pregnant.

The bill now goes to the House.

NO CHANGE IN SMOKING AGE

Legislation banning anyone under 21 from buying cigarettes or electronic smoking products in Idaho has failed in the House. Lawmakers on Tuesday voted 40-28 to reject the measure that would have brought Idaho in line with the federal smoking age.

President Donald Trump signed a law in 2019 that bars tobacco sales to anyone under 21. Supporters say Idaho stores are already abiding by federal law, but state law needs to be changed to avoid confusion and confrontations in stores.

Opponents said people who can join the military at 18 or buy a house should be able to buy smoking products.

FEDERAL RULINGS AND ACTIONS MAY BE NULLIFIED

Republican Rep. Sage Dixon addresses the House State Affairs Committee, Tuesday, April 6, 2021, in the Statehouse in Boise, Idaho. The committee approved legislation intended to give Idaho lawmakers veto power over federal government actions and federal court decisions. (AP Photo/Keith Ridler)

An Idaho House panel has approved legislation intended to give lawmakers veto power over federal government actions and federal court decisions. The panel on Tuesday sent the bill to the full House for possible amendments.

Political experts say such legislation is popular in conservative states such as Idaho but faces big obstacles in overturning federal actions.

The legislation brought forward by Republican Rep. Sage Dixon would allow any member of the Republican-dominated state House or Senate to make a complaint, potentially leading to a public hearing by the Committee on Federalism, which Dixon co-chairs.

The committee could then initiate legislation backers say will make the federal action “null and void.”

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