That may be a bit dramatic and tongue-in-cheek for how legislators feel right now, but most believe this will be the last week of this legislative session. Records show that on election years legislators get their work done sooner than non-election years like this one. Seems like they can think faster in Boise on election years, so they can get home and campaign. Not a good story line at all!
One of the things legislators put off until the last minute was what to do about the Proposition 2, for Medicaid Expansion. It was approved by the voters and became law without the legislature or governor’s approval. That is what the initiative system allows in the Constitution.
That said, there was nothing in the law that discussed how it would be funded. JFAC and the Senate agreed to fund the bill with about a $10 million dollar increase to the General Fund for the first 6 months, starting January 1, 2020.
But some legislators wanted to add sideboards, or work requirements. Now, 100 percent of us agree that people should work, and after all, this was intended to be health insurance for the “working poor.” Of course, the devil is in the detail. Turns out it costs millions to put together the bureaucracy to track this work requirement. So, that’s been the battle. How to get some sort of a cheap or free-to-the-state work requirement. It didn’t happen.
The state will be spending millions per year and the health care community will spend millions to track this work requirement of 20 hours per week. To me it’s like buying a dead horse. But, I guess if I like the horse….!
Initiatives in the news
You may have seen how the bill on initiatives was vetoed by the Governor. This has been a hotly contested topic down here. There is a lot of fear that Idaho will be like California and have 15 initiatives on the ballot. We’ve had two in the last eight years. One passed, one failed. California has a substantially differ set of criteria for getting initiatives on the ballot than Idaho does.
There are thoughts to add a fiscal statement to our process, so the voters could know the cost of what they are voting on. To me that’s a no brainer. Of course, we should know what things cost. I would whole-heartedly support that change.
I have lots of information on this process. If you are interested, let me know.
Road funding for District 7
Since I’ve been in the Senate I’ve tried to understand and improve the distribution of road funds. One of the areas of success has been to get money that would otherwise go to state roads and give it to local roads, like counties and county road districts. In fact, about a million dollars each went to Shoshone, Clearwater, and Idaho Counties, as a result of this legislation.
We got some of this done two years ago but now that bill has expired, and we have to pass a new one. Seems simple, right?
Nothing is simple here. Some folks got their fingers in the pot and want to funnel $2.6 million per year of the $14.6 million available to Ada County (Boise)! The rest of the counties and districts – 270 – could split up the remaining $12 million through a grant application process. Additionally, these 270 could be eligible once out of every 4 years. Ada County would have to apply and get the $2.6 every year! Sweet deal if you are from Boise.
Well, this won’t happen. We will kill the bill and get a better deal next year. I am committed to help the locals get their fair share.
The games we have to play…just to do the common sense thing….!
I always enjoy hearing from you. If you have specific interest on bills, please let me know and I will run them down for you. Send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
All the best,