In 2016, China was Idaho’s number two trade partner, and its rank has now dropped to number seven. At the same time, the Idaho State Legislature is also acting to restrict the use of dangerous China tech that opens the doors to intrusion as China Tech Threat’s recent report shows that the state of Idaho spent over $33 million on restricted Chinese technology. from Lexmark and Lenovo between 2015 and 2022.
Introduced by Idaho Representatives Edward H. Hill and Sage G. Dixon, House Bill 294 adds to existing law to prohibit public entities from entering into certain contracts with companies owned or operated by the People’s Republic of China (PRC). The bill passed the House by a vote of 62-7-1 and will next be taken up by the Senate State Affairs Committee.
Of the $33 million Idaho spent on Lexmark and Lenovo technology that has been restricted or banned by the U.S. military and intelligence agencies due to their connection with the PRC government and military, more than $26 million is being used in the education system, close to $800,000 in the Supreme Court, and over $200,000 in the military division according to the Idaho fact sheet.
These departments hold valuable, sensitive information that now is at risk of being obtained by the PRC because China’s 2017 National Intelligence Law obligates all Chinese companies to cooperate with any Chinese government directive to hand over information in their possession.
“Idaho is taking the lead in addressing the CCP threat. National security no longer just resides at the national level. The threat is multi-domain, and all states must step up their security posture so there is an effective layered defense across the country. The need for urgency in preparation is paramount,” said bill sponsor Rep. Hill. “We will fight with what we have, and we must be prepared.”
With this bill, Idaho joins the nearly a dozen states that are taking action to ban the purchase and deployment of Chinese technology by state agencies.” Idaho also just passed an anti-TikTok bill (HB 174) and also has a bill (HB 173) in development that prohibits a foreign government from purchasing, acquiring or holding a controlling interest in agricultural land, water rights, mining claims or mineral rights in the state of Idaho.