The Legislative session started Monday, January 6th, at 12 noon with a joint session of both Houses. The Senators came to the House Chamber and the Governor delivered his State of The State and Budget address. There were a few key points in the Governor’s address. You may not have heard, but the Governor ordered all Departments, except Education, to hold 1% of the general fund budget from the FY2020. He also ordered all of the Departments, except Education, to cut 2% from their base budgets for FY2021. The Governor’s budget calls for 3.75% spending over FY2020. This is a very modest spending level and will be difficult to achieve with Idaho being the fastest growing state in the union for the third year in a row. This budget is a testament to Governor Little’s commitment to reduce the size of State Government.
The Governor has projected growth in the states’ economy at a modest rate of 4.2%. The EORAC committee, which I serve on, has also made some recommendations to JFAC. The Committee has recommended the target number for FY2021 budget be $4,125,500,000. This is the first time that the state’s economy has projected Revenue over $4 Billon dollars.
We have started the rules review in all the committees. As you have most likely heard, Governor Little has ordered all Departments to exam their rules to make them easier to read. This has led all departments eliminating duplications of the rules and also eliminating duplicate language if the language was already in the statute. This has eliminated about I/3 of most department rules by changing the regulation by the state. However, we now have to approve all of these changes. This requires each Committee reviewing the rules for the Department they oversee. I continue to serve as Chairman of the House Committee for Resources and Conservation. Our Committee will review all rules the Idaho Dept. of Fish and Game, Idaho Dept. of Parks and Recreation, Idaho Dept. of Lands, the Idaho Dept. of Water Resources, and the Idaho Outfitters and Guides Board. We are trying to accomplish this rules review in the first three weeks of the session.
Some of the other issues that we will be addressing this session are the full implementation of Medicaid Expansion, the funding of Medicaid Expansion, examining property tax, and maybe an alternative way for funding local government.
A few of you have contacted me about the new Auto Insurance law that took effect on January 1st. There are some that would like to see the law repealed. I don’t believe that the law will be repealed before we see if the new law is successful in lowering the number of uninsured motorists in Idaho. This is NOT a new requirement for insurance. It is a new method to try to increase compliance with the law that we all carry liability insurance on our autos. Like most new programs there have been some glitches getting the law up and running. IDT has moved the enforcement date back a couple of months. Idaho ranks about 40th in drivers carrying the proper insurance. The projections are that 1 in every 8 cars on the road don’t have insurance. These costs of uninsured motorists increase premiums on our auto insurance. If we are successful in lowering the number of uninsured motorists, we should all save money. This should lead to lower rates or slower increase in our rates in the future. I feel your frustration in the implementation of this new enforcement effort. I assure you that this new enforcement effort was not an attempt to increase revenue for IDT.
I want to thank you for the opportunity I have to represent you in the Legislature. If you want to contact me, I use my cell phone in Boise. The phone number is 208-547-7447. My state email is firstname.lastname@example.org. Also I am home in Grace most every weekend.