Otter’s latest batch of bill signings: still no word on grocery tax

(UPDATED, 6:08 a.m., April 7, to reflect Otter’s vetoes.)

While Gov. Butch Otter keeps Idahoans guessing on the grocery tax, he signed another 52 bills into law Thursday.

Three of the newly minted laws have K-12 connections:

  • House Bill 242, which would allow school districts some leeway to reduce instruction hours during severe winters.
  • House Bill 254, which would eliminate term limits for state Public Charter School Commission members.
  • House Bill 262, which lays out the plan to distribute an additional $2 million for college and career counseling.

Otter still isn’t tipping his hand on the bill to repeal the sales tax on groceries. He voiced his opposition to the repeal in March, saying it could jeopardize funding for public schools and other state programs. Since the bill’s passage, he has said nothing about his intentions.

Otter has until Wednesday to sign bills from the 2017 session — or veto them, or allow them to become law without his signature. Otter vetoed four bills Thursday: legislation to create an invasive species administrator and a related funding bill; a civil asset forfeiture bill and a cosmetology licensing bill. (Details on the vetoes from Melissa Davlin of Idaho Public Television.)

Otter signed the seven K-12 budget bills Tuesday.