There have been some very big events this week in the Legislature. On Monday Rep. Moyle introduced HB 409 that would freeze property taxes for one year. That bill is very controversial as you can imagine. The Cities and Counties hate the bill. They contend that the bill wouldn’t do what we are trying to accomplish, and that it will make funding local government difficult or impossible. HB 409 was sent to the floor with a do pass recommendation. Now all parties I have talked with has referenced property tax as a major concern.
On Tuesday we had the Alzheimer Assn. at the Capital lobbying for more support for research into this terrible disease. I don’t believe that there is a family in Idaho that hasn’t had someone in their family afflicted with this disease. They were seeking funds for a study that needs to continue but they no longer have the resources to continue that research. It looks like the State is going to able to continue that funding.
On Wednesday the Senate Education Committee voted to approve the rule docket containing the school standards. That vote ensures that the current standard for education will remain in place. There is going to be an interim committee that will study and make recommendations for a new set of standards because it is apparent there is dissatisfaction in the current common core standards. If the State had rejected the standard, the federal funding for education would have been withheld and the state would have lost millions of dollars.
This morning the Senate Health and Welfare Committee voted to hold HB 317. This was the bill that allowed Optometrists to do some laser eye surgery. The vote in committee was 6-3 to hold the bill in committee. This was a bill that dealt with “scope of practice” issues and they are always contentious. The House voted 12-1 in committee and sent the bill to floor with a do pass recommendation. The House vote was 58-11 and we sent the bill to the senate. This is a great example of why we have two legislative bodies and when both bodies pass a bill, then we must obtain the Governor’s signature or allow the bill to become a law without his signature. This is a great example of the checks and balance in our form of government. Our fore fathers were very wise men!
Last but not least this is the end of the sixth week and our Pages are finishing up their service in the legislature. It is always interesting to watch these young high school seniors grow as they spend six weeks working with us and learning about the legislative process. The Resources and Conservation Page has been Alicia Easterday from Twin Falls.
I travel home most every weekend and I have the opportunity to see many of you at a high school basketball game, or on the street, or maybe church. It gives me an opportunity to visit with you about the issues that you feel are most urgent. The State Girls Basketball Tournament is in Boise next week and if any of you have a chance, please stop by and say hello. If you have an issue that you would like to visit about, please contact me. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org or my cell phone is 208-547-7447.