March 23, 2019
"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has." - Margaret Mead
Hopefully, the Legislature will adjourn next week, but there's no guarantee. So much is still unresolved. I wanted to give you a quick update on some of the issues we have been working on since day one like the Education Funding Formula which has not been agreed upon.
Unfortunately, the Legislature has yet to fully fund Medicaid Expansion and two new bills were introduced this week to add sideboards. HB277 was rushed to be passed through the House this week and is now on the Senate side. This legislation would create work requirements for Medicaid Expansion recipients and cost the state over $30 million. SB1204 was also introduced as a compromise and would create a voluntary work program. SB1171 which would fund Medicaid Expansion, has also, been sitting idly on the House Floor for over a week and a half and the House is refusing to vote on the bill. We will not adjourn until this is resolved.
Revenge on Voters Act
Unfortunately, SB 1159, which will make the initiatives and referendums process the most restrictive in the nation, passed the Senate by one vote on Friday. Thank you for everyone that emailed, called, and testified against this bill. Please continue to make your voices heard on the House side.
This week, my bill, SB1178a passed in the Senate and made it through the House Resources and Conservation Committee and was sent to the House floor. This legislation would prohibit exploding targets on any state land during the designated fire season, classify the crime as a misdemeanor, and reiterates a judge's discretion for sentencing terms and cost recovery for damages, plus community service to help repair damages in the affected areas. This only addresses an accidental incident as a misdemeanor as arson is already covered under Idaho Code as a felony. This legislation does not apply to private property or any public or private shooting range that has a permit or governmental approval. This does not prohibit exploding targets outside of the designated fire season for the rest of the year.
Sexual Assault Kits
HB266 comes to the Senate for a vote next week. This legislation would clarify that when an adult victim of sexual assault comes to the hospital for an anonymous sexual assault medical forensic exam, the hospital staff is not required to report this injury to police in order to protect the anonymity of the victim. Gratefully, HB116, to test all sexual assault kits was signed into law by the Governor.
Federal Lands Council
HB162, the creation of a Federal Lands Council and HB169, creating the Committee on Federalism are both in the Amending Order of the Senate calendar. Both have similar language and inadequate fiscal notes. HB162 grows government by creating a council that has the power to insert itself into every contractual process between the state, individuals, and the Federal Government. The HB169 committee will monitor and review federal acts, laws, and regulations of all our agencies that may potentially impact the jurisdiction and governance of Idaho.
Join me at the 5th Annual Interdependencies Summit on Wednesday, April 29th!