Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.

Arthur Ashe

Last Week, and the Last Week…

Friends,

Last week in the legislature, was a jumble to say least. Lobbyists were at a fever pitch, trying to tilt the table in their favor, with half-truths, third truths, and the rest! Normal end of the session activities. Here are some updates:

Restricting the Power of the Governor and Government

I will give a complete analysis of what the legislature did during session on this important topic when we have all the bills passed. Suffice it to say, this was a lot more complicated than we thought. It has taken a number of pieces of legislation to bring things more in line with the thinking of the people and how the government should handle itself during a pandemic.

The senate passed two bills last week that will be part of this package. H135 and S1136 both have different ways of reducing the governor’s power during emergencies. 

(As a reminder you can look up any bill by number online at legislature.idaho.gov)

Tax Relief

There will be a tax relief bill. As usual, these bills are left until the last week of the legislature to put more pressure on everyone. I am working on a home owners exemption increase to be part of the package. Tax bills have to start in the House of Representatives. They are very complicated, but we have to achieve something here.

Transportation

One of the Governor’s objectives is to have a sustainable transportation bill for the state, this year. An amendment was made in the Senate on Monday, that would allow the local jurisdictions to have more money, without robbing the intent of the Governor, or costing more. However, the idea did not pass at this time, but I think we can resurrect it at some point. Our local road districts, and counties are in serious need of assistance.

Last Week

A number of hot button bills were voted on in the education area. I’ll give you some information, the lobbyists didn’t tell you, as they promoted their agenda with you.

H249

The sex ed bill. A highly inflammatory bill in the topic, and the way it was lobbied. This bill doesn’t do anything that a local school district cannot do right now. I really believe in local control, by elected officials, like your local school board. Who are our neighbors, friends, family or co-workers. This bill adds to an already bloated government bureaucracy, and has the state be the big brother over decisions I believe should be local, and currently are local.

I am very concerned about state power over local decisions.

H254

This was the voucher bill, or scholarship bill. I had serious concerns about this bill when it came to committee, but the sponsors decided to drop part of the bill, so the committee passed it. Then, the sponsors added three elements they hadn’t mentioned in public. Those were increasing the amount a parent could receive from $500 to $750, then doubling the ongoing money from $5 million to $10 million, and adding a five year sunset. What that did to the bill is make it an $80 million commitment for 5 years…with no measuring stick, of any kind, as to its success in improving education. It became a free government give away of $80 million, with no accountability! 

S1179

The bill to fund colleges and universities. This bill was written about six weeks ago, it had a financial penalty for BSU, a reporting requirement for all, and a checklist that could save students up to $2000 each. The bill got out of JFAC, passed the Senate, and I believe was set to pass the House. Then we went on recess. Boise State blundered again in a major way. At that point, I couldn’t support the bill. So, we will be back to the drawing board. The continued mistakes will cost millions to the universities.

S1193

This is the most amazing misrepresentation I have seen yet of a bill. Legislators each received hundreds and hundreds of robo emails about this bill touting it would, “ indoctrinate preschoolers with leftist ideology including social justice and critical race theory.”

Here are the facts, not from a fundraising organization. This idea was generated by $30,000 of PRIVATE money from some of the largest business in Idaho, including Western States Equipment, John Deere and others. They recognized the major problem of our Idaho children not being prepared for first grade, or when they arrive at kindergarten. A grant was written to the TRUMP ADMINISTRATION for this money. The grant was awarded under the guidelines of the TRUMP ADMININISTRATION as the grant came to being because of the Trump administration. To use the grant, the legislature had to grant spending authority; meaning the legislature had to give permission for the dollars to be spend in Idaho. I believe the businesses in Idaho are not radical left wing operatives. I believe the Trump administration would not allow that through their grant process, radical left wing requirements. Plus, this idea would work with parents on deciding appropriate materials, methods, etc.

I don’t see this bill ever passing. So, what should we do about the fact that over 60% of children in Idaho enter the first grade, unprepared for basic first grade learning. I would be interested in your suggestions.

Foundation for Wolf Management

I attended the banquet for the Foundation for Wolf Management in Lewiston, Saturday night. Nearly 500 people from our area attended this fundraiser. This group displays what results looks like when private initiative replaces government disfunction.

Thank you to Butch and Joanne Suor for all the work they do toward this annual event!