Idaho lawmaker changes course on issue of children testifying before committee members

Idaho State Capitol building in Boise (Source: KMVT)
Idaho State Capitol building in Boise (Source: KMVT)(KMVT)
Published: Jan. 29, 2023 at 12:21 PM MST
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BOISE, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) —An Idaho lawmaker is modifying his stance on not allowing people under the age of 18 from testifying in the House Judiciary, Rules and Administration Committee, after receiving push back from Idahoans.

Nampa Rep. Bruce Skaug, who is also the Chairman of the House Judiciary, Rules and Administration Committee, said people under the age of 18 are now allowed to testify in the committee, but they will need a parent or guardian present, or a signed permission slip from a parent.

“I have listened to everyone but one of my favorites was from a man in Middleton  who is 75-years-old. He said, ‘Representative I disagree with how you’re limiting children from testifying, but if you want to exclude the millennials from testifying I’m okay with that’,” said Skaug with a chuckle. “I thought that might not be appropriate but at least he made me laugh.”

Skaug said the goal of the committee is to maintain decorum and receive testimony from all interested parties. Additionally he said priority will be given to Idaho residents, over non-residents, and adults over children in the order of testimony.

In the past committee members have raised concerns about large classrooms coming in to testify before committees, taking time away from other people, and drawing out the process in which bills can be presented and debated in an efficient manner.

Rep. Barbara Ehardt, who chairs the House Local Government Committee, made a similar rule change this week about children testifying. It remains to be seen if she’ll change course the way Skaug did.