Well, in truth, I’m not sure I heard anyone but me say that! But it does seem to be the theme around here. Legislators are busy pontificating about their personal theories of Medicaid expansion, voter initiatives, and the like. Meanwhile, the voters seem exhausted as emails have dropped off dramatically. Even the advocacy groups that attach constituent names to form letters seem to have backed off!
I expect we will spend this week getting very little more done than we have already “accomplished.” Hopefully we won’t be here next week.
On the positive side, I plan to continue to do my best to make solid decisions on your behalf. We will visit it the off-season!
There have been a lot of changes in theories of what to do about Medicaid Expansion. Frankly, the legislature doesn’t like the idea and never has. However, the voters want something done and, as provided in the Constitution, got an initiative on the ballot. Now the legislature is in a position to do something they didn’t do for six years, and they don’t like it.
HB277, which would have established work requirements and managed care provisions, was sent back to committee in the Senate to die. However, SB1204 will be amended today. It may have some of the provisions of HB277 but is a watered-down version. That’s about all that will come out of the Senate, in my opinion. There will be some minor work requirements in the Senate version of the bill, but it will be less costly than the House version.
I really don’t know what will happen, and neither does anyone else.
Education Funding Formula
I learned some things about Idaho’s education system last week that I wish I hadn’t. There are a number of so-called stakeholder groups in education. They represent segments of the educational community. They really don’t embrace change very much. Some of them have tactics to maintain their salary, job, and position of influence by appearing to go along with change right up until it is about to happen. Then they have “issues.” Of course, by then it is often too late to change the new idea to accommodate them, and it dies.
I’m not saying they are all like that, but I am detecting a pattern.
We need to make changes in education by embracing change, not by maintaining what doesn’t work. We need to find reasons to succeed in education, instead of excuses to fail.
Along those lines several of us are trying to salvage the parts of the funding formula effort that are easily agreed upon. We have a bill that got out of the House Education Committee, almost unanimously. It will be on the floor of the House today. I expect it will pass both bodies of the Legislature and be signed by the Governor.
Basically, it solves one of the main sticking points of the funding formula discussion about getting true student numbers. The bill defines the categories of students, then asks for districts to report to those definitions. It will create very little additional work but will provide solid data for next year’s discussions on how to allocate money.
Special Guest in the Senate
Trooper Cory Juber, the District 2 Resident Trooper in Grangeville, assisted with Legislative Security this week. Cory lives about a half mile from me. Fortunately, we are only acquainted through our senate experience and not from one along the state highway somewhere!
Cory moved to Idaho from South Texas after being a Navy Veteran for 9 ½ years. He also served in Iraq.
We are proud to have Cory represent Grangeville and the Idaho State Police at the Senate
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.