Joint resolution to remove Blaine Amendment introduced in Senate Education Committee

Published: Jan. 30, 2023 at 6:41 PM MST
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BOISE, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) —On Monday Sen. Brian Lenney of Nampa introduced a joint resolution to the Senate Education Committee that may play a pivotal role in whether or not school choice legislation gets passed thIs session.

The joint resolution aims to remove the Blaine Amendment from the Idaho State Constitution. The amendment places restrictions on the use of public funds by states to support religious institutions and schools. Most state constitutions have the provision.

When introducing the proposed legislation, Lenney called the Blaine Amendment a, “relic of religious bigotry.”

SECTARIAN APPROPRIATIONS PROHIBITED. Neither the legislature nor any county, city, town, township, school district, or other public corporation, shall ever make any appropriation, or pay from any public fund or moneys whatever, anything in aid of any church or sectarian or religious society, or for any sectarian or religious purpose, or to help support or sustain any school, academy, seminary, college, university or other literary or scientific institution, controlled by any church, sectarian or religious denomination whatsoever; nor shall any grant or donation of land, money or other personal property ever be made by the state, or any such public corporation, to any church or for any sectarian or religious purpose; provided, however, that a health facilities authority, as specifically authorized and empowered by law, may finance or refinance any private, not for profit, health facilities owned or operated by any church or sectarian religious society, through loans, leases, or other transactions.


“Given the recent supreme court ruling, multiple supreme court rulings in the past few years that have rendered it null and void, I ask the committee to support the printing,” Lenney said.

Sen. Lori Den Hartog commented tp Lenney that the Fiscal Note of the joint resolution may need “a bit of additional information” before it comes back to the committee.

“We may need to state a reason why it may not have an impact on the general fund,” Hartog said.

The committee approved the joint resolution for printing. His Republican colleague Sen. Tammy Nichols is planning on introducing school choice legislation, possibly this week. It would pave the way for public funds to be utilized at religious schools