We just finished the second week of the legislative session, and for the most part, so far so good! These first few weeks are filled with agency rules review and confirming the Governor’s appointments to public organizations. The task of reviewing and confirming gubernatorial appointments is reserved exclusively for the Senate. We take this role seriously, as these appointees are the individuals who will help implement the laws we pass in the legislature. It is important that they meet statutorial requirements and are well-qualified for their appointed positions.
Rumblings of a Constitutional Convention
After we heartily killed the resolution calling for an Article V Constitutional Convention for a balanced budget amendment last year on the Senate floor, I am surprised to see there’s energy for the event still circulating in the building. The US Constitution allows for a convention of states to convene to change The Constitution. This has never happened since the signing of the Constitution in 1787, likely because several legal scholars have opined that there would be no way to guarantee a limited scope process. In other words, once the constitution is opened for revision, the entire document is subject to change (no matter the intent of the convention). I whole-heartedly opposed tearing our Constitution apart. It would prove devastating in this divisive political climate.
Neat Findings in the Public Policy Survey
For the third year in a row, Boise State University’s School of Public Service has performed a Public Policy Survey for the State of Idaho. The general takeaway is that Idaho is going in the right direction and we’re doing a good job. There were some interesting results that caught my eye, however, that I think really merit attention. When asked about the priorities for the Workforce Development Council that I serve on, 67.3% of Idahoans responded that increasing awareness and access to career education and training opportunities was critical. For the third year in a row, the percentage of people who want Idaho to find a solution to healthcare problems has increased, and that number now sits at 77%. That’s more than ¾ of the state!
As we discuss tax reform, 59% of Idahoans want the legislature to repeal the tax on groceries.
62.6% of Idahoans think they’re being taxed about right, and nearly 78% said to keep the state budget the same or increase it. And finally, something we’ve seen year after year, Idahoans continue to acknowledge that our education system needs a lot of work. Respondents overwhelming chose education as the number one priority for the legislature to address. A shocking 62.8% of people surveyed rated our public education system as either poor or fair. We need to do better.
These are measures that I’m happy to say we have solutions for, and I look forward to pushing them forward with my colleagues to help improve your quality of life, provide world-class education opportunities to both our youth and adults, and increase good-paying job opportunities to leave you with a little extra money in your pocket at the end of the day.
I Need Your Input
I have had several visitors from our district this week ranging from high school seniors, to counter-protestors, to the Idaho Democratic Women’s Caucus, to members of our AFL-CIO union. It was such a pleasure to hear from everyone as the week progressed. I can’t do my job well without your input, and I appreciate every piece of feedback you send. Please feel free to contact me if you’d like to chat on the phone about issues that matter most to you, meet in person, or email back and forth. Your voice matters.
Your District 26 legislators will be hosting our legislative tour on February 9th and 10th. Details about times and locations are forthcoming.