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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 Seven, February 20-24

Michelle Stennett

"Government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the Earth." - President Abraham Lincoln

 Constitutional Convention

Friday morning in the Senate State Affairs Committee we passed the resolution calling for a constitutional convention to create a balanced budget amendment by a 5-4 vote. I voted no. We had a large turnout and had overwhelming opposition by those who testified.

Restricting the constitutional convention to a single issue would be unenforceable and preempted by The Constitution. A runaway convention in a politically polarized environment could tear apart the heart of our representational democracy. We expect to see this resolution on the Senate floor early next week. I encourage you to reach out to all senators with your concerns via phone and email.

Science Standards

This past Thursday the Senate Education Committee heard two hours of public testimony for the Department of Education science standards. The House Education Committee had previously amended the standards to eliminate any requirement to teach climate change and human impact on the environment in our public schools. If the Senate Education Committee votes to pass the standards as amended, they will be adopted for one year. We will know more by Monday when the Senate Education Committee meets for the vote.

Early Voting

The House passed an early voting bill aimed to hamstring counties who are trying to increase voter participation by limiting early voting by as much as 1 week prior to the election. Any legislation that aims to decrease voter participation is a violation of the spirit of a government of the people, by the people, and for the people. I will vote against this bill when it comes to the Senate State Affairs committee.

Real ID

The passage of HB513 in 2016 authorized the Department of Motor Vehicles to comply with the Federal Real ID Act of 2005. In becoming Real ID compliant, the DMV is now permitted to scan and store copies of primary source documents including birth certificates, passports, social security numbers, and other private information. For those Idahoans who wish to keep their information private, SB1069 allows for citizens to opt out of Real ID compliant identification cards. The bill also calls for measures to explain the ramifications of selecting a Real ID compliant card. The intent is to empower citizens to make a choice that best suits their needs - whether they need access to federal buildings, choose to fly with a state driver's license vs. a passport, or prioritize the protection of their personal, private information.