Bill to Give Idaho Schools Power Over Student Driver's Licenses Dies in Committee

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Idaho high-school students seeking a driver's license or learner's permit won't have to review their grades before heading to the local DMV.

A bill sponsored by Coeur d'Alene Republican Sen. John Goedde would have added the words "satisfactory academic progress" to the Idaho Code, which requires Idaho students be enrolled in school before becoming legal drivers.

"Just to give you a little background, right now, a student under the age of 18 has to provide proof that he’s attending public school, private school, and there's also a provision for home school, if he wants to get a permit or driver’s license," Goedde told the Senate Education Committee Tuesday.

Senate Bill 1087 would have required districts to submit proof of academic progress with proof of the student's attendance.

"Committee, you’ll find no definition of what that means, it’s up to the district to make that clarification," noted Goedde, informing lawmakers that the wording was left open for districts to interpret: "'Satisfactory academic progress' might be different between the Boise School District and Kendrick."

But the committee was reluctant to rubber stamp a measure that didn't spell out a definition of "progress," and raised concerns about students who drop out, obtain GEDs or graduate early.

"Is this section of the code being used? I wasn't aware of it," asked Emmett Republican Sen. Steven Thayn.

With a roll call vote, a motion to send the bill to the floor with a do-pass recommendation failed on a 3-6 vote against. No substitute motion was offered, and the committee adjourned.

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