Idaho Governor Brad Little has signed into law HB 294 that will prohibit public contracts with companies owned or operation by the People’s Republic of China (PRC). Introduced by Representatives Sage G. Dixon and Edward H. Hill, the bill received overwhelming support in the House (67-7-1) and Senate (28-7).
China Tech Threat’s Idaho research released in February 2023 revealed that between 2015 and 2022 the state spent $33 million on Chinese technology from Lexmark and Lenovo 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.
With this new law, Idaho joins a growing number of states, including South Dakota where Governor Noem signed into law similar legislation on March 22, taking action. Idaho has emerged as a leader on this issue with Governor Little’s 2022 Cybersecurity Task Force Report which 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.)