Divisiveness leads to defeat.
As you may have heard we have been on recess, which when I was in school was the best part of the day! Turns out, I was able to finish calving, in blizzard conditions, which made me appreciate going back to the legislature even more.
Now we have lots of work to do in next couple of weeks. We have to;
- Get funding finalized
- Tax cut bill
- Transportation bill
- Kindergarten bill
- Finish the work of retaining legislative power
Now for a recap of the last two weeks:
Idaho County Lincoln Day, Greencreek
Saturday night, March 13, the annual Lincoln Day banquet was held in Greencreek, Idaho County. I was told more than 250 people attended, which is a record crowd at this event. I think we were all glad to get out and finally see people!
A big thank you to the Idaho County Republican Central Committee Chair, James Rockwell, for his leadership in putting this event together. The featured speaker was Congressman Russ Fulcher.
It was so important to me to see so many of my constituents together at one time. This year has been such a crazy point in our history!
Shoshone County Lincoln Day, Wallace
Shoshone County Republicans held their annual event and I was there to represent District 7 and the Senate. I took the opportunity to share my thoughts on the conclusion of the legislative session. Approximately 100 people attended this night of food and fellowship.
A big thank you to Linda Yergler and her crew for putting on this tremendous event!
Several weeks ago, I told you about lobbying groups who would try to use YOU to influence me for their own ideas. Well, it’s happening as predicted.
Lobbying groups, starting with the Idaho Freedom Foundation have been asking people all over the state to send me emails that would strong arm me into support for their own political agendas.
They have been passing out flyers, recording videos, and doing robo calls! I guess I should be honored that they think I am so influential. Of course, they are sending you misleading information, and half-truths to try to convince you I have no idea which end is up!
My votes will not be bought or coerced! I represent you and the nearly 44,000 other constituents in this district.
My vote will be your vote!
What is best for rural Idaho!
What is best for you!
Our vote, mine on behalf of you, is not taken lightly and is not handed to ANY lobbying group!
Higher Education Budget or S1179
I wrote this description of what is going on with this bill a couple of weeks ago, but several of you have asked me to restate the facts.
They have been so distorted by some of the mailers, videos, and robo calls, that you may not recognize the facts included in the bill.
Here they are:
FIRST: This bill was the one many legislators were filing their teeth for, last summer and beyond. Let’s face it, higher education is in a politically unpopular place right now. Many can’t afford it and jobs aren’t always a guarantee. Yet, when we needed a COVID vaccine, or whenever we want researched based decisions, we call upon graduates of higher education. We still need these graduates, and we need them badly.
The bill I proposed and passed through the Finance committee with a 16-3 approval vote and through the Senate with a 27-6 approval, would penalize BSU for their publicly funded social justice programs. The legislature has complained about this for at least two years.
This bill takes over $400K from their budget for these programs. We didn’t make this number up. We got it from BSU by looking at the number of programs or positions that were directly funded by public dollars. We expect changes on social justice programming at our state institutions of higher education.
This same bill will provide LCSC over $400,000 so they won’t have to raise tuition. And it gives them more money for their nursing program. Most legislators think LCSC is on target with their educational efforts.
SECOND: This bill will require all four universities to report their public spending on social justice by January of next year. I am sure none of them will report high numbers, especially if we take money from BSU for the same thing.
THIRD: The third item in the bill is that the State Board of Education must provide a “pick list,” so students can opt out of certain student fees that they feel do not contribute to their degree or overall college experience. At the University of Idaho, the total student fees are about $2,000 per student.
The legislation I proposed seems reasonable to most, but not as far as some like to go in either direction. You’ll hear a lot about this, this coming week. This bill gets us pointed in the right direction without damaging a student’s ability to access core educational programs.