This has been interesting week. We celebrated the adoption of the 19th amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America. The Idaho State Historical Society brought several items from their collection of original documents that led to the ratification of the 19th amendment. That was the women’s suffrage amendment giving women the right to vote. That was ratified in 1920 and Idaho was the 30th State to ratify the 19th amendment. Rep. Emma F. Drake M.D., from Twin Falls, sponsored a House Joint Resolution No. 1 on February 18, 1920. Idaho had granted women the right to vote via an amendment to the state constitution in 1896. Today we have 25 women serving in the House of Representatives and nine women serving in the Senate. The women make up 1/3 of the State Legislature.
There has been a lot of activity this week. The House Education Committee voted to reject the State’s content standards for Science, Math and English. There has been testimony by educators saying that the standards are needed but the Committee chose not to follow the recommendation of the teachers and the State Board of Education and rejected the standards by a vote of five ayes and 10 nays. These standards were in administrative rules so as it now stands, the House rejected the Standards. The Senate has yet to take a vote on these standards. If the Senate approves the standards, the rule would fail, and the old standards would remain in place. Both bodies have to reject the standards in order to kill the rule. The Senate has indicated they will take up their vote next week. Everyone is keeping an eye on this issue. I do believe that we need some standards to measure student progress. The debate remains, are these current standards the correct ones? I want our kids to be able to go to College or enter the work force and be prepared to compete with students from the other states.
There was a bill introduced on Wednesday by Rep. Monks that deals with medical billing. This bill establishes a time line so that bills have to be submitted in a timely fashion. The bill came about as a result of billing cases in the Idaho Falls area where collection agencies have charged for their collection services, and the $400 or $500 medical bill have cost thousands of dollars by the time they made their way through the collection system. Melaleuca CEO, Frank Vander Sloot, has been pushing this legislation. I’m sure that most of us have had issues with medical billing. The problem can be with the postal service or dealing with our insurance companies. I am not suggesting that the collection agencies are doing anything illegal, but we have all experienced problems in this area.
Several of you have asked me about the daylight savings bill. I am not aware of the problems that the bill had, but the bill made its way to the third reading calendar and it sat there for three days, and then Thursday was pulled back to committee. I don’t know if there will be an attempt to run another bill this year. I have said several times, I could support leaving the clock year around on daylight savings time. That gives more people time in the summer for evening recreation. Those of us in agriculture work when the sun is up and don’t worry too much about what time the clock says it is.
Rep. Christensen has joined Sen. Harris and me in supporting HB 382. That is the bill that will start the adjudication of the Bear River Basin. We had a hearing on the bill and sent it to the floor with a do pass recommendation. HB 382 will most likely be heard on the floor on Tuesday of next week. We certainly want to protect the water we have in our district and State from threats from others needing more water.
The Idaho Assn. of Counties was in town this week for their annual meeting. I had the opportunity to visit elected officials from all six Counties that we represent in District 32. The Counties concern, without question, is what will the property tax legislation look like this year? The short answer now is we don’t know. There are several plans being discussed. I will write more about tax plans as we sort the wheat from the chaff and legislation makes its way to the floor. If I can help with your concerns on any legislation please fill free to contact me at email@example.com or on my cell phone 208-547-744