It is exciting to be back in Boise to help bring our District 7 voice to the rest of the state! I see it as my job to be influential enough down here to actually bring our conservative values to the front of the room.

It is good to see the enthusiasm of the other legislators, all of whom believe they can make the state better…as they see it. Reality will set in when only about half of the bills presented will make it through the entire process.

The pomp and circumstance surrounding the Governor’s State of the State Address serves to remind me of the solemn responsibility we hold to the Constitution and to the history we inherit as part of this governmental process.

It is indeed a responsibly and a privilege that I don’t take lightly.

Water, old business but important topic

I want to visit a minute about a major concern relating to those of us in rural Idaho. We have regulations around our drinking water that create unsustainable money problems.

I have been working with the Elk City and Clearwater communities on the problems they are having with regulations coming from the Department of Environmental Quality, a state agency. These regulations are coming out of the EPA in Washington DC, then enforced by the State of Idaho.

I want to keep this short, and it is a long story. Let me give you an example. Through my calculations, the government has spent about $75,000 per household in Clearwater, Idaho in the last five years.

That’s for a town of 48 homes! $2.25 million dollars!
This is absolutely unsustainable spending.

I needed to find a solution, so I requested a meeting with the Governor’s office, the DEQ Director and Deputy Director, and a member of Senator Crapo’s staff. I am appreciative that this group of influencers agreed to meet with me on this issue.

I will tell you, I didn’t come away thinking a fix was anytime soon. There is a feeling that the water quality in Idaho homes is improving and as long as there is more federal money, it will continue to improve.

Folks, the federal government is broke. Getting more money from them is unsustainable! 

One suggestion is that we allow residents to determine the regulations they believe are sufficient and cost effective, releasing the state of any liability. The idea is only popular in rural Idaho, not with government folks.

You may have a better idea on how to address this issue, so please send me your suggestions. I will not quit, but I sure am frustrated!

Rules

Most people I know don’t like to spend a significant amount of time studying rules. But, because of some “intramural sports” in the Capitol last year, the whole legislature is going to be approving all the rules for the state in just a few short weeks. Usually the legislature only works on new rules, and any old rules that folks want to change.

As Vice Chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee, I will be in charge of the rule making process for transportation rules. We did some work last year on this and condensed 22 existing rules down to eight. That worked well, and you will see us reduce a huge number of rules this year.

This is in line with the Governor’s Red Tape Reduction act and in line with common sense. I will do my very best to shorten the list of goofy and outdated rules.

Stay tuned as there will be more on this in the coming newsletters.

Broadband in rural Idaho

Celynda Roach, President of the Idaho Cable Broadband Association I had the opportunity to attend the Idaho Cable Broadband Association meeting this year. Last year, I was a speaker and talked about the importance of broadband in rural Idaho. This is an issue that is very important to me and needs to be taken seriously throughout all of rural Idaho.

*Pictured with Celynda Roach, President of the Idaho Cable Broadband Association