Newsletter: February 23, 2018

February 23, 2018

Here is an update on several bills, some of which are in my own committees. I hope you find this information useful. If you would like to learn more about these issues, you can go to where you can find committee recordings, copies of bills, and live stream of Senate and House Floor sessions.

Watercolors make a splash at the Capitol
Idaho Watercolor Society2The 34th Annual Idaho Watercolor Society (IWS) Capitol Rotunda Show began this week and will run through March 4, 2018. The IWS is a state-wide society which promotes and supports the use of watercolor media. Ruth Clark was the founding member of the society and to this day, IWS supports student artists by awarding three yearly Ruth Clark scholarships.

Congressional report card given to Idaho Lawmakers
Senator Risch and Senator Crapo2Senator Jim Risch and Senator Mike Crapo came to the Idaho Capitol this week and gave a congressional report to both chambers of the Idaho legislature.

Sen. Risch warns of clash of “Biblical proportions” with North Korea
Eye on Boise • 2-21-18 • By Betsy Russell
Idaho Sen. Jim Risch, who startled security experts at an international security conference in Munich, Germany over the weekend with threats of a clash of “Biblical proportions” between the United States and North Korea, said today that he meant every word of it – but only if North Korea uses nuclear weapons first. Click Here for the full story.

Suicide Prevention Advocacy Day
Idaho Suicide Prevention Hotline2This week legislators met with members of the Idaho Suicide Prevention Coalition. This coalition provides a statewide resource for public and private supporters of suicide prevention, training, and education.
The Idaho Suicide Prevention Hotline (ISPH) is one resource of the state that is committed to the prevention of suicide in Idaho. The hotline provides crisis intervention, emotional support, resource referrals, links to local services, and follow-up for all Idahoans, including those at risk for suicide and their families and loved ones.

Lawmakers walk to win money for schools
Idaho Ed News • 2-21-18 • By Andrew Reed
Steps for Schools2Gov. Butch Otter, 12 lawmakers, and 45 fourth-graders from Boise’s Monroe Elementary School braced 30-degree weather Wednesday afternoon to walk around the Statehouse to raise awareness about health and fitness. They are participating in the Steps for Schools Walking Challenge, an annual event that encourages legislators to get out and walk each day. Click Here for the full story.

Bills to Track

HB364 This bill saves taxpayer dollars by digitizing the transition vehicle credentialing process used by the Idaho Transportation Department. (2/21/18 update: Passed the House and Senate)

HB369 This legislation provides an Idaho-specific Roadless Rule approach, rather than a one-size-fits-all approach from the Federal Government. The bill codifies the existing Idaho Roadless Rule Implementation Commission as the entity to inventory Roadless areas of the state. (2/21/18 update: Passed the House and Senate)

HB387 This bill provides for license plate fee exemptions for Purple Heart recipients. (2/21/18 update: On the Senate 3rd Reading)

HB451 This bill helps to address Idaho’s doctor shortage. The legislation provides an income tax credit for charitable contributions made to Idaho-based medical residency placement organizations, accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education or the American Osteopathic Organization. Residency placement programs are essential to the final stages of M.D. and D.O. educational processes, and residency placement programs enhance programs like WWAMI (Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana and Idaho) by encouraging doctors to stay in the state of Idaho. (2/21/18 update: On the Senate 3rd Reading)

HB493 This legislation facilitates the modernization of the state’s business information infrastructure. The bill provides the funding source and governance model for the State Controller’s office. (2/21/18 update: On the Senate 3rd Reading)

S1208 Agricultural Labor – allows for the use of inmate labor in production. (2/21/18 update: Has passed the Senate and is in House Amending Order)

S1212 This legislation will provide ‘program quality funding’ for career technical education secondary programs in the areas of business management and marketing, engineering and technology, family and consumer sciences, health sciences, and skilled and technical sciences. As part of a program quality funding framework, the Division of Career Technical Education housed in the Idaho Department of Education will provide technical assistance funding to programs which now will include agricultural and natural resources. This funding is currently not available for agricultural and natural resources programs. (2/21/18 update: Has passed Senate and House)

S1219 This legislation will lower health care insurance costs for local governments who pool together to buy insurance by reducing unnecessary regulation. This bill also saves taxpayers money! (2/21/18 update: Passed the Senate and is in the House awaiting a hearing)

S1222 Education – Bolsters Career Technical Education Secondary programs and incentive funding. (2/21/18 update: Passed both houses and awaits the Governor’s signature)

S1229 Secretary of State – streamlines submission of early voting notification process for both the county and the Secretary of State. (2/21/18 update: Passed the Senate and is in the House awaiting a hearing)

S1234 Adds to existing law to require that employees, employment applicants, contractors and subcontractors have a criminal background check if they will have access to federal tax information. (2/21/18 update: Passed the Senate and in the House)

S1267 Education – Establishes a Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics (STEM) diploma. A STEM diploma should help those who receive it with scholarship applications, college admittance applications, and job resumes. (2/21/18 update: has passed both the Senate and House)

S1294 This legislation adds the Idaho School for the Deaf and Blind (ISDB) as a beneficiary of Idaho’s two taxes on tobacco products. All youth, from birth to 21 years of age with hearing or vision loss, including those with other disabilities and deaf/blindness, in the State of Idaho may access the ISDB. The Safe and Drug Free Schools program provides public schools with revenue generated from Idaho’s two taxes on tobacco products, pursuant to 63-2506 and 63-2552A, Idaho Code. Because ISDB’s budget is appropriated separately from the public school support program, it does not benefit from these funds despite its vulnerable student population. (2/21/18 update: Passed the Senate awaiting a hearing in the House)

S1311 The proposed legislation creates a pilot program managed by health districts, who choose to participate in the pilot. Individuals may receive primary care for up to ten months if they also attend a financial literacy course or health coaching. The financial literacy course, or health coaching, is provided by a qualifying non-profit. The goal of the pilot is two-fold. First, help those in poverty learn financial literacy or health practices that will benefit them long-term. Second, provide access to primary care to those that may not have any access to health care. Only three health districts will participate in the program in the first year. (2/21/18 update: Passed the Senate)

SCR131 This resolution recognizes the month of June as Cytomegalovirus Awareness Month in Idaho (CMV). CMV is the most common congenital infection in the United States and is the most common viral cause of birth defects and developmental disabilities, including deafness, blindness, cerebral palsy, mental and physical disabilities, seizures, and death. Most people are not aware of their CMV infection status, with pregnant women being one of the highest risk groups. The incidence of children born with congenital CMV can be greatly reduced with public education and awareness about basic prevention measures to guard against CMV infection. (2/21/18 update: Passed the Senate)

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