4-H Know Your Government
4-H members from all over the state spent Presidents Day weekend in Boise, attending the Know Your Government Conference. The idea is to empower youth to be well-informed citizens who are actively engaged in their communities and the world.
As most of you know, I’m a big promoter of 4-H! One of the things they do is meet with their legislators. It was a real privilege for me to have breakfast with four super star 4-Hers from Idaho County!
SJR 101 – Marsy’s Law
Last week the Senate voted on SJR101, which relates to Marsy’s Law. Marsy’s Law is intended to strengthen the voice of victims of crime, giving them an improved standing in the criminal justice process, to ensure their case-related needs are met.
There have been a lot of folks who thought our vote on SJR101 was a vote for Marsy’s Law to become part of the Idaho Constitution. It wasn’t.
The Senate’s vote was on whether to let Idahoans have the freedom to vote on Marcy’s Law.
Before we voted, I was contacted by several people who were both for and against the legislation, which is normal. The Senate voted on the same bill two years ago, and it passed the unanimously, 35-0. So I thought, no big deal this time around, right? WRONG!
This time some lobbying groups are claiming Marsy’s Law would lead to gun control. And that’s upset a number of my constituents and other people whom I respect.
So again, please know that the vote last week was not a vote for Marsy’s Law to be enacted.
The truth is, allowing people to properly debate the merits, or lack of merit, and then vote is what our constitution allows, and I support.
I am reluctant to allow politicians in Boise to stop people on different sides of issues from exercising their constitutional right to debate and to vote, especially on controversial matters such as Marsy’s Law.
On Monday JFAC passed the kindergarten through high school budget (K-12). We started with it because it is the biggest budget to draw from the general fund, and many believe education is our number one constitutional responsibility when it comes to funding. We didn’t want to be short on budget money when we got to education.
One of the big deals in this budget is to increase emphasis on teaching young kids to be good readers. Almost everything I have seen shows that kids who read well by the time they reach third grade are more successful the rest of their lives.
Our Idaho kids aren’t doing so well at reading. Governor Little talked a lot about this during his campaign and is unbending in his support to improve literacy. We did not give him what he wanted, but we believe enough has been allocated to make a difference for our Idaho kids.
Medicaid is a huge issue for people on both sides of politics. Our district was nearly perfectly split when it came to Prop 2. That probably puts me, as your Senator, in a lose-lose situation! I thought this would be a relatively simple issue because the Governor proposed a budget that would have no net impact on the general fund. Not so. Everybody wants to have their voice heard on this.
There are lots of sideboard ideas being passed around, including imposing work requirements. There is no agreement on anything at this point.
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,