A man only learns in two ways, one by reading, and the other by association with smarter people.
Dyslexia Bill Unanimously Passes Senate
Dyslexia, a reading disorder that affects about one out of every five Idaho students, got a lift this week. I brought legislation to require the State Department of Education to begin a two-tier system of identification and treatment of this condition. Reading proficiency at an early age is a dependable predictor of life success. Dyslexic students are often relegated to special needs classes…the most expensive educational effort we have.
With my bill, the state may save significant money by being able to help students with dyslexia. That’s because there is no new spending attached to this legislation.
Decoding Dyslexia Idaho, a grass roots organization, has been trying to get this done for the last four years. They contacted me to help them with the legislative process. I did not realize the significance of this problem or its solution until I became more informed.
We now have to get it through the House of Representatives.
Bill to Help Parents with School Expenses
The Senate has been busy this week with a number of bills related to education. Among them is Senate Bill 1255, which would establish the Empowering Parents Grant Program, a federally funded program that would provide funds for eligible students for computers, textbooks, physical therapy, and other education expenses.
This bill extends a new round of funding to students and families to address persistent gaps in their education that were exacerbated by the pandemic. $50 million will be put toward a grant program, where families can utilize up to $1,000 per student and $3,000 per family for addressing needs like additional tutoring, computer hardware, broadband access, and many other services. The bill prioritizes families in need of financial help, then moves up the income scale as funds are expended.
I have a Senate Resolution to encourage the balanced teaching of history in our schools. It states, “Now, therefore be it resolved that we encourage the schools of Idaho to provide children with the knowledge, strength and virtue of a free people by viewing the history both clearly and wholly, not only the offenses but also the triumphs. It is imperative that children are taught about mistakes, as well as, unprecedented accomplishments toward freedom and fairness for all.”
You will hear a lot of pros and cons on this. Representative Judy Boyle is carrying this resolution in the House.
Last week, some of you got texts and emails about how I voted for some bill that promoted CRT. It did NOT happen! In fact, I helped draft, and singularly carried a bill last year that banned CRT in our schools. The bill passed and is now law.
It is too bad these online lobbyists/fundraisers do this. Heck, I make plenty of mistakes…just not the ones they are making up!
Second Amendment Rights Affirmed
On Thursday, Senate Bill 1262 passed the Senate on a 30-5 vote. This legislation protects Idahoans’ gun rights in the case of a declared emergency. It ensures that firearms be exempt from the section of Idaho code that allows the government to confiscate personal property (such as construction equipment) if needed in an emergency. It also declares that firearm-related commerce be established as an essential service, and therefore could not be closed in the case of a shutdown.
The bill now heads to the House of Representatives for review.
Broadband “Dig Once”
The Bill I am carrying to improve broadband in Idaho by increasing competitiveness and access to fiber will be heard this week…more to come.