Idaho’s Bill to Thwart Contracts with Chinese-Owned Companies Advances to Governor Little’s Desk

Having already passed the House, the Senate (28-7) overwhelmingly approved HB 294 last week, so the bill is off to Governor Little’s desk.  Introduced by Representatives Sage G. Dixon and Edward H. Hill, this bill would prohibit public contracts with companies owned or operation by the People’s Republic of China (PRC).

We anticipate the Governor will sign HB 294 into law, given his 2022 Cybersecurity Task Force Report published 18 recommendations, including defending sensitive personal and financial data held by state agencies. (The policy was featured in CTT’s 2022 State Policy Ideas Memo.)

As recently reported in our Idaho fact sheet, between 2015 and 2022 the state spent $33 million on Chinese technology from Lexmark and Lenovo. These companies have been restricted by U.S. military and intelligence agencies due to their connection with the PRC government and military.

If signed into law, Idaho would join a growing number of states, including South Dakota, taking similar action to ban the purchase and deployment of Chinese technology by state agencies and to prevent the exposure of government data and residents’ information to the Chinese government.