The measure sponsored by Sen. Tim Corder, R-Mountain Home, is the fifth attempt to change how the state licenses daycare since 2000.
Corder told The Associated Press on Friday that after several attempts to tighten daycare requirements, he may drop the issue.
Corder said it may take a serious incident at a daycare center before legislators are ready to change the laws, which were written in 1987.
"Maybe we need some more tragedy, some more vocal tragedies,'' Corder said. "Maybe something needs to wake them up.''
Ironically, one of the opposition leaders to Corder's proposal came from fellow Mountain Home state representative Pete Nielsen.
The bill passed the Senate 30-5 earlier in the session but has been hung up in the House Health and Welfare Committee, of which Nielsen is one of the ranking members.
"It mystifies me to think we need to have the same standards in different parts of Idaho,'' said Rep. Pete Nielsen, R-Mountain Home. `"I'm struggling with the fact that this could be a local government issue and we're making it big government.''
Currently the state requires licenses only for daycare facilities with 13 or more children.
Corder's bill calls for licensing all providers paid to care for four or more children. It would also require criminal history background checks and safety and fire inspections. The bill would restrict firearms, alcohol and tobacco use as well.
House committee members made their decision to delay a vote on the measure after listening to more than three hours of testimony from parents, daycare providers and state inspectors. Ultimately, the committee members said the bill's requirements went too far.
"It is imposing what I feel is too much regulation from the state down,'' said Rep. Lynn Luker, R-Boise.
Committee members said it would be an imposition to require homeowners to follow certain fire codes and that it is not necessary to set the entire state to one standard when some cities and counties impose their own license requirements.
Idaho's daycare laws have been ranked one of the worst in the country by the National Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies since 2007. Many problems outlined in the 2009 report as Idaho weaknesses would be addressed in Corder's proposal.
Last Thursday the house committee voted to hold the bill after three hours of occasionally emotional testimony. Once a bill is held in committee, it is not usually considered again.
Corder told the AP that his bill "still has a heartbeat,'' but time is growing short.
The legislative session has begun to wind down and Corder said there may not be enough time this year to change the bill in the House and then review it in the Senate.
Committee Chairwoman Rep. Sharon Block, R-Twin Falls, said the bill can still be addressed but she did not offer a timeline.
She said some lawmakers are concerned that the bill would set one standard for all daycare providers. Block said rural providers face different issues from those in urban areas.
"It's possible to have one set of regulations if those regulations are worked out in a way that can address the small groups and big groups,'' Block said.
When previous daycare licensing changes died in the House, lawmakers argued that parents should be responsible for ensuring that their children are in a safe environment.
A licensing overhaul in 2007 was killed by conservative lawmakers who feared it would encourage more mothers to put their children into daycare so the women could work, rather than staying home and caring for the youngsters.
Jasper LiCalzi, College of Idaho political economics department chairman, said often laws change only as a result of public outcry.
"There has to be some push where the public really calls for it. It might have to wait until then,'' he said.