ID Legislative Week 2 over, running into week 3…

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I’m behind, so many things going on! We are buried in reviewing the Exec Branch’s rules based upon legislation we passed last year, we are the only state in the nation who can reject rules without running a new bill and we review these rules very closely to ensure they meet the intent of bills passed or federal laws that have changed. An example is last week, the EPA’s metric of “clean water standards” based on the amount of toxicity in and amount of the fish we eat is challenged. EPA says that in the Pacific NW we eat 180 grams per day (~2 lbs) of fish per day PER PERSON, this number is then extrapolated to the amount of resources needed to keep toxins out of our streams, or that are naturally occurring. Our DEQ did a study and found that Idahoans eat ~22 grams per day, but the Nez Perce Tribe eats about ~66 grams per day/person and has set our toxicity levels for clean water based upon the higher (66 grams) of fish consumption per day to appropriately protect all Idaho citizens. Our new approved rules now reflect this baseline, and the EPA will now sue Idaho for not abiding by their standards that were set 16 years ago without a study of Idahoan’s fish consumption. Rules matter and we must ensure we are protecting citizens against over regulation by our State or Federal government, this is an important process, as painful as it might be (there is a LOT of reading).
Seeing many bills starting to be printed for discussion, we have had a few bills on the floor to amend our budgets from last year adjusting spending authority of departments that have seen more Federal or Dedicated funds come in that they had authority to spend. We have yet to see the bill for last fall’s firefighting, but it’s bound to be $50m or more that will come out of this year’s bottom line. We have to get better visibility on these bills! Follow the bills being printed here: www.legislature.idaho.gov/legislation/2016/legInde…x.htm

ID Legislature Week 1 complete…

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We started off Monday getting our legislative bodies up and running, then moved to the House for the presentation of the Governor’s State of the State where he outlined his priorities for the FY17 budget year Funding for the second year of the five-year implementation of a “career ladder” plan to attract and retain certificated instructional employees
* Funding for additional teacher professional development
Funding for increased classroom technology in line with our Education Task Force’s five-year plan Funding for continued STEM Action Center grants, projects and program administration A “tuition lock” initiative to cap tuition costs for qualified students over a four-year period at any of Idaho’s public colleges or universities Start-up funding if local residents decide to establish a full-featured community college in eastern Idaho. * Merit-based raises for State employees
* Funding for a third regional behavioral health crisis center – this time in southern Idaho I have to hold judgment until I can see the details and costs of these various programs, however, I do support moving down the road we started last year regarding changes in our Task Force’s recommendations. I also know of the successes of reducing community costs in having a Behavior Health Crisis center for Police to use vs. hospital emergency rooms or jails. Getting folks into treatment instead of treating them like criminals will help them more and cost our communities less… win-win. We did spend a day in “class” as a first in the nation effort to help lawmakers work on issues through civil discourse. I don’t believe we have an issue with this in Idaho, but I don’t want Idaho becoming like Washington D.C.. We have a system that works effectively and efficiently, we need to strive to keep it that way. Finally, I worked on many pieces of legislation that are still confidential, but we should be getting them turned into the respective committees this week. Had a very discussion with the Governor about some education issues I’ve been working on and am excited about the potential for Idaho’s students… more to come in the next 60 days on that! You can follow us online via streaming video or if you want to track the bills and follow committee meetings, please go to www.legislature.idaho.govwww.legislature.idaho.gov Thanks for allowing me to represent you in the Idaho Senate!

One hour from the start of the 2016 Legislative session…

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Only time my desk will be clean and no one will be at my door. Let’s do this!!!

GOP needs to prepare…

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To run against Joe Biden. He will step in to”save the party” after she’s spent all her money! bit.ly/1MWklLp

New Limit Rules for Idaho Fishing…

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Starting this Friday, Jan 1, 2016! bit.ly/1P0RZkI

“A certain amount of opposition is a great help to a man. Kites rise against, not with, the wind.”

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Lewis Mumford

Thankful for Friends and Family…

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We have been blessed to have so many wonderful people in our lives. I wish I could reach out to them all and personally thank each for being a part of my life. I hope all of you enjoy the company of your friends and family today while also remembering those family members standing watch around the world keeping the bad guys away. Thanks to our service members who volunteer to forfeit this day with their families to keep us safe, remember to say a prayer and raise a glass to them.

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