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Noncompete bill on its way to governor

The Idaho Statehouse.

The Idaho Statehouse. A bill that would repeal Idaho’s controversial noncompete law is on its way to the governor for his signature. Photo by Anne Wallace Allen.

A bill that would repeal a controversial noncompete provision in Idaho code has passed the House and is on its way to Gov. C L. “Butch” Otter for his signature.

The bill, S1287, was sponsored by the House side by Rep. Lynn Luker, R-Boise,  and passed the House on a 54-14 margin on March 20.

photo of ilana rubel

Rep. Ilana Rubel

“Hopefully we have fixed our terrible noncompete law,” said Rep. Ilana Rubel, D-Boise, a longtime opponent of the existing law, who testified for the bill in the House.

Sen. Jim Guthrie, R-Inkom, vice chair of the Senate Commerce and Human Resources Committee, sponsored the bill in the Senate. It had been amended to remove just one of the two sections of text added in 2016, which brought Idaho national attention for the strictness of its laws about people leaving a job to join a competitor. It passed the Senate on a 29-5 margin on March 5.

Supporters of the bill said that the 2016 legislation that Idaho passed, imposing severe noncompete restrictions, gave the perception that Idaho wasn’t friendly to entrepreneurs and employees. While it wasn’t clear whether the law had actually ever been used, its detractors said it had a chilling effect on employees considering moves to other jobs or starting their own businesses.

Supporters of the original law, including the founders of some Idaho startups, said it helped them keep their businesses in Idaho.




About Sharon Fisher

Sharon Fisher is an Idaho Business Review staff writer, covering financial institutions, technology, and business development. She holds a bachelor of science in computer science from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and a masters in public administration and graduate certificates in geographic informational analysis and in community and regional planning from Boise State University. She likes explaining things and going to meetings. Join me on Twitter at @IBR_SLFisher.