Idaho Senators change their vote, pass bill
Following declarations of death by deadlock, the cannabidiol oil bill was rolled back into the House State Affairs committee Thursday morning and passed with a 12-4 vote after reconsideration.
Previously, the committee convened Monday to vote on passing the same bill, which resulted in an 8-8 tie and a subsequent hold in committee. However, an announcement followed soon after stating the committee would reconsider the bill.
The second visit to the bill revealed a change of heart on the issue for Reps. John McCrostie, D-Mountain Home; Ken Andrus, R-Lava Hot Srings; and Linden Bateman, R-Idaho Falls. McCrostie moved to pass the legislation to the floor with a recommendation to pass it.
“My analysis of the bill was that it is flawed and needed adjustments, and I still feel this way today,” McCrostie said. “But with that flawed bill, why overlook — that these kids may be impacted in a positive way.”
Rep. Lynn Luker, R-Boise, followed McCrostie’s proposal with a substitute measure to send the bill to the general order to be amended, sending the bill back to square one in the legislature. He said there was a lack of specificity in how many containers an individual could have at one time, among other concerns.
“It’s not clear this is an affirmative defense as it is written,” Luker said.
Andrus rejected the substitute measure, citing the urgency of the bill.
“I fear that if we send this to general order it will not get taken care of this session,” Andrus said.
Both he and Bateman said they researched the topic in greater depth following the Monday meeting, and heard further testimony from those affected by intractable
Bateman’s voice rose as he explained his changed vote on the issue, which he said could be attributed to witness testimony.
“There was one testimony I had where I just about broke down in tears, ‘My child is sleeping at night for the first time, sleeping for the first time since I started to use this drug,'” Bateman said.
The bill provides a defense for someone who possesses cannabadiol oil, if the person uses the oil to treat an intractable seizure disorder the individual, or his or her child, is diagnosed with.
This individual must also have a physician’s written recommendation for the oil, and the amount of oil in possession cannot exceed 32 fluid ounces.
State Affairs Chairman Thomas Loertscher said the House floor’s vote on the bill “probably won’t happen until Monday.”
George Wood Jr. can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org