- Associated Press - Saturday, June 27, 2015

BOISE, Idaho (AP) - Summer in Idaho brings not only plenty of outdoor cookouts and floats down the river, but also state laws ready to go into effect.

July 1 marks the start of a new fiscal year in Idaho, meaning the state will begin implementing a new budget and plenty of new policies.

The biggest new laws focus solely on education and transportation, but other new policies include getting a new official state amphibian and allowing concealed weapons outside city limits without a permit.

Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter signed 342 pieces of legislation this year, while lawmakers amended 660 different sections of Idaho law.

What did Idaho get? Here’s a look at the key laws you may notice.

-TRANSPORTATION: Lawmakers passed a $95 million transportation plan designed to help repair Idaho’s crumbling bridges and roads. This means vehicle-registration fees are going up $21 and Idaho residents will pay 7 cents more for gas. However, the new plan falls short of the $262 million funding shortfall the state has faced each year since 2010 to maintain upkeep on its transportation infrastructure.

-EDUCATION: Rookie teacher salaries will increase by almost $1,000 up to $32,700 per year in July. At the end of the next five years, if lawmakers continue to allocate funding, first-year teachers will make $37,000 a year. For more experienced teachers, the plan includes a two-tiered ladder to move up to earn more and includes $4,000 bonuses at the very top. The plan also includes accountability guidelines that provide oversight for the expensive proposal.

-CONCEALED CARRY: Lawmakers approved a broad rewrite of the state’s weapons laws, including allowing Idahoans to carry concealed weapons outside city limits without a permit. Lawmakers declined, however, to remove a provision that lets lawmakers carry concealed weapons without a permit.

-TELEMEDICINE ABORTION RESTRICTIONS: The practice wasn’t even offered in Idaho before lawmakers began debating it this year. But starting July 1, Republican lawmakers made sure doctors would be banned from prescribing abortion-inducing drugs via telemedicine. The law also requires doctors to attempt to make follow-up visits with women after administering the abortion drugs.

-PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARY: Lawmakers passed a $2 million plan to move Idaho’s presidential primary into March. Proponents say the plan will give the state more influence in the 2016 presidential primary elections. But Democrats objected, saying that taxpayers shouldn’t pay for political party events.

-GIANT SALAMANDER: An eighth-grader’s plan to name the Idaho giant salamander the official state amphibian finally became law. After five years of lobbying, 14-year-old Ilah Hickman persuaded lawmakers to designate the salamander, which is found almost exclusively in Idaho and can grow to be one foot long, as the state amphibian. The salamander joins 16 other state symbols, including the Western white pine as the state tree and square dancing as the state dance.

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