Touring SE Idaho with my Permanent Building Advisory Council teammates looking at the structural needs of State owned property. Reviewing everything from historic log cabins on the Oregon Trail to the needs of our Universities and Colleges. Too many hours on a bus and not enough time to see everything, but we did have some great discussions about how to better use our funds through consolidation of agency locations… More on that when we learn more about state leases!
June 3, 2016
Thanks to Rep. Packer for organizing a meeting with some of the Health & Welfare Committee members to get an update on activities going on within each Division of the Department. After 4 hours, we just ran out of time and plan on having another meeting in the December timeframe. It’s refreshing to see them approaching how each division operates looking at the services provided from the point of view of their clients… Be it Fostercare, SNAP, Medicaid, Childcare or the operation of our State Hospitals and mental service providers, they have a vast array of programs that they are required to manage (most from the federal level) and they do a great job with the resources provided. We can’t put a $2.2b Department on auto pilot and expect to come in to session for only 3 months and grasp the depth of the issues they face. It’s incumbent upon us within those respective committees to do some homework during our off-session periods.
March 28, 2016
During the 2016 Legislative Session, I was happy to be able to lay the groundwork for a Veteran’s Cemetery in Eastern Idaho. I hope that this will allow more Idaho veterans the ability to use a cemetery close to their home and families. It is the least we can do to honor and respect the time and sacrifices spent serving our country. I’m also proud to report my involvement in the creation of a statewide school security program that will help better secure our schools and educate building users on proper, consistent security protocols. This is an ongoing effort to ensure that we are being proactive in protecting Idaho’s children and that all Idaho schools are safe environments. Fixing our broken foster care program was also a priority, and I was pleased to co-sponsor a comprehensive overhaul of that process as well as a task force that will study ways to continue to make it better for foster parents and the children served.
Please be aware that as this letter is printed, there are still a number of pieces of legislation that have yet to be voted on. For more information about bills considered this year (or years past) please refer to the Idaho State Legislature’s website at legislature.idaho.gov
While we may not have agreed on every vote, please know I took into consideration, and appreciate the thousands of correspondence, phone calls and visits that came my way while studying each issue as best I could before I cast each vote. If there are any concerns or questions you have about this session or if there is anything you think I may be able to help you with, please let me know. Continue to stay informed and communicate so that I can better serve you along with all residents of District 14.
March 28, 2016
As a member of the Senate Health & Welfare Committee, I concern myself with the well-being of the citizens of Idaho. In the Committee, I worked to fully fund and organize the Suicide Prevention Program. Idaho is a state at high risk for suicide and it’s an issue I have worked on for many years; this legislation will provide support for a program that is saving lives. Overall, the Health & Welfare Committee continues to work to find ways to care for the disabled and impoverished, while ensuring public fund abuse is kept to a minimum. We worked hard trying to find medical delivery solutions for uninsured Idahoans that fall in the Medicaid Gap. Many bills were printed in both the House and the Senate, but none could garner the majority of votes needed for passage, so we will continue to work on this important issue.
I helped resolve disputes in the Senate Resources & Environment Committee through statute over water rights and aquifer recharges across the state. As industry and population expand in Idaho, it’s important that while protecting and properly using our State’s natural resources, we facilitate that growth. We also approved many regulations and bills allowing the Department of Environmental Quality to have”Primacy” over the Environmental Protection Agency for clean water regulations and underground storage tanks. Idahoans have clearly indicated that they would much rather work with Idaho’s own DEQ than the EPA in ensuring we are protecting our environment while enabling business to operate under fewer regulations.
In the Senate Transportation Committee, I worked to find ways to pay for our transportation infrastructure maintenance and safety. I focused on increased highway funding through negotiations restricting the use of untaxed dyed diesel on our roads. We need our billion dollar transportation network to stay in a working condition that connects us across Idaho and to our neighboring states for safe travel and to promote economic growth.
March 28, 2016
Dear Idaho Friends,
The laws enacted this session will continue to positively impact the lives of all Idahoans for many years to come. As this session of the Idaho State Legislature comes to a close, I want to thank you for allowing me to serve you in the Idaho State Senate. It is truly an honor and a privilege to represent you.
I was proud to have been able to”Quarterback” the task force that secured the Idaho College of Osteopathic Medicine (ICOM). This is an important and exciting achievement for Idaho, as our State suffers from one of the lowest doctor-patient ratios in the nation. ICOM is a private, long-term and sustainable solution to the problem of doctor shortages at no cost to tax payers. In addition to state-wide economic benefits, ICOM will be a source of prestige to the Treasure Valley that will attract more companies with high paying jobs for years to come. Daughters and sons of Idaho will have the priority of selection and opportunity to go to school to become doctors within their own communities; I hope you will share in my excitement for the first class to graduate from the Idaho College of Osteopathic Medicine in 2022!