If I had more time, I would have written a shorter letter.

Mark Twain

I really liked this quote! Political people talk so much because they have all this information they want you to know.  Only problem is you don’t want the whole load! You just want to know what it means to you! That’s harder!

Education Week

Education Week wrapped up at the Capitol, and all week, we had presentations in the Finance Committee. Education is constitutionally mandated and such a critical part of what we do; and it’s critical to me too.  We really have to work on the budget each year. There is never a shortage of opinions as to how to spend education money!

The Department of Education made their pitch, eventually after an hour of political pandering. We are really struggling to show progress in our K-12 efforts. Much of it, in my opinion, is due to a lack of leadership. But some of it is due to changing family structure in our society. We are using the same basic education business model, but families are changing. Education needs to adapt to the widely varying family structures in Idaho.

Higher Education came to town showing better enrollment numbers than I expected for such a high demand employment situation in Idaho. Usually, when unemployment is low, students get jobs instead of enrolling in more schooling. Each university also addressed the criticism levied against them last year involving Critical Race Theory. Some did student surveys, some hired third party consultants. All vowed to not involve indoctrination into their curriculum. There continues to be differences of opinions on this subject.

One issue involving all state government, and particularly higher education, is how to hire “classified” employees. That is those who are not professors. When a worker can get $12-18 per hour at McDonalds, how do we hire them on our campuses when we can’t compete with pay? That is an issue that has to be solved…soon.

Tax Relief

Income tax relief is coming. As you may know, tax legislation has to come from the House. This year, they sent over a bill that will provide a bit of income tax relief. I have not heard many of you talking about income tax problems as much as property tax relief. But, we are in a position of taking this, or getting nothing.

I am working on two pieces of legislation to shift the tax burden of school levies back to the state and off property tax owners. One is taking kindergarten off the property tax rolls. The other will help local districts with teacher health insurance. These are not enough, but they are a start.

Parent’s Rights

My vote about a proposal for parent’s rights was to make sure we are supporting parents and protecting students. I support parent rights. I am a parent! There are many ‘parent rights’ proposals being discussed and this was the first one presented. I want to be sure that any laws for parents, or anyone else, are the correct solution to the problem. I look forward to supporting parent’s rights and I will have the opportunity to do that this session.

Newsletter Wreck

There has been a major screw-up on newsletter delivery. First, I write my own newsletter, while most legislators use someone else to write their newsletters. You will know mine because the logo at the top has my picture with a red, white and black scheme. I send it from my personal mailing list and is paid for by me. If it has a blue and white based logo at the top, it is from the government mailing list and paid for by the government.

This week, some of you got a newsletter from me that I did not write. Look for my red, white and black logo…that’s mine!