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Boise, ID 83720-0081

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Boise Idaho Senator Michelle Stennett, Idaho State Senate Minority Leader

News Blog

2017 Legislative News, Week 8, February 27- March 3

Michelle Stennett

"Don't interfere with anything in the Constitution. That must be maintained, for it is the only safeguard of our liberties." -President Abraham Lincoln

Article V Constitutional Convention Resolution Fails

This Wednesday, after 2 hours of debate, we voted 11-24 against the resolution calling for an Article V Constitutional Convention.  SCR 108 called for Idaho to join the convention solely for the purpose of passing a balanced budget amendment. While I do think this merits consideration, nine other states who were calling for the balanced budget were also calling for other amendments. There's simply no way to guarantee a single issue convention.

Science Standards

Our Senate Education Committee members received hundreds of emails from concerned community members asking to keep the new science standards for K-12 education in place. The new standards would have required teachers to include climate change and human impacts to the environment in their curriculum. Unfortunately, the committee approved the amended rules that eliminated these requirements. However, this does not prevent school districts from including these standards in their curriculum.

Rolling Coal

Rolling coal, or coal rolling, is a purposeful modification of diesel vehicles to release significant quantities of soot, smoke, or other particulate emissions into the air and onto roadways which affect vehicle drivers, bicyclists, pedestrians, or others. This practice is a public health issue and a public safety hazard. To discourage this practice, I have sponsored legislation calling for two penalties: a moving violation would be a misdemeanor and a non-moving violation would be an infraction. The bill just passed through the Senate Transportation Committee on Thursday and will head to the full Senate for consideration.

Tobacco Age Requirements

This Friday in State Affairs, we voted to table the bill that would raise the tobacco use age from 18 to 21. I don't consider this as an effective measure to prevent young adults from starting smoking, since 80% of young smokers start before the age of 18. Eighteen years olds go to war, they vote, can hold office, and are criminalized as adults. Though I understand the health consequences, I disapprove of legislation calling for standards more restrictive than alcohol and that imprisons users upon the third violation.