In 2011, the Idaho Legislature passed the Fairness in Contracting Act, which made it illegal to use dues paid by union members to fund contractor bids.
At the time, Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden said the law probably wouldn't hold up against a legal challenge. Sure enough, upon its passage, labor groups sued and the law never went into effect.
See related PDF The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals on Sept. 16 put the final nail in the coffin when it unanimously upheld a federal district court decision finding the law was invalid on the grounds it violated the federal National Labor Relations Act, the Spokesman-Review reports.
"Under such programs, a union collects funds from workers it represents then uses those funds to subsidize bids by union contractors, allowing the contractors to lower their labor costs and so more effectively compete with non-union contractors," wrote 9th Circuit Judge Marsha Berzon in the decision.
This has not been a good 12 months for controversial Idaho laws.
In early August, U.S. District Court for Idaho Chief Judge B. Lynn Winmill struck down the state's 2014 "Ag-Gag" statute, which passed through the Legislature despite massive opposition from the public and warnings that the law violated Idahoans' First Amendment rights.
In November 2014, 4th District Court Judge Patrick Owen ruled the Idaho Department of Administration violated the state's procurement law when it created a sweetheart deal with Education Networks of America and Qwest.
In October 2014, the 9th Circuit Court upheld U.S. Judge Candy Dale's ruling against the state's 2006 voter-enacted same-sex marriage ban.
Beyond legislation, the state also found itself on the losing end of a case in federal court this summer alleging widespread records tampering and prisoner mistreatment at the Idaho Department of Correction.