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Boise, ID 83720-0081

(208) 332-1353

Boise Idaho Senator Michelle Stennett, Idaho State Senate Minority Leader

News Blog

2018 Legislative News, Week 5, Feb 5-9

Michelle Stennett

Last night we held our first town hall in a series of 6, and turnout was fantastic with some great questions! I hope you’ll join us at your local town hall today:

Today February 10:

Bellevue - Oak Street Deli - 8am

Fairfield - Senior Center - 10am

Gooding - Landr Inn - Noon

Hagerman - City Hall - 2pm

Shoshone - Community Center - 4pm

 Constitutional Convention Bill Dies

This Friday, after two days of citizen testimony, the House State Affairs Committee voted 5-10 against the Article V Constitutional Convention resolution. HCR 32 would have added Idaho to the growing list of states that want to participate in a constitutional convention. This resolution added some intent language to limit the scope of the convention, but the real problem is that Idaho would have no jurisdiction over how other states behave and what their resolutions bind them to. For example, Texas had a resolution last year that would require their constitutional delegates to debate 9 different amendments. Our entire constitution could be disassembled in the process.

Tax Conformity and Income Tax Cut Bill Moves Forward

Idaho traditionally chooses to conform its tax structure to the federal model to make it easier for residents and businesses to do their taxes. One of this year’s efforts to conform, HB463, also includes an income tax cut and a child tax credit issue. Due to structural changes of standard deductions and itemized deductions, the state of Idaho would need to provide at least a $287 child tax credit for each child to keep families from losing money on their taxes. This bill offers only $130 per child, which is less than half the amount needed to help our families with children. The combined efforts of tax conformity and the insufficient child tax credit means that single parents with 2 children, and the average Idaho family with 3 or more children will be paying taxes.

The income tax cut piece of the bill is particularly harmful, as the “extra money” we have to make it happen is generated from slashed line items in the Governor’s budget. These cuts include several university and community college programs, mental health programs, and even some career technical education programs. This is especially troubling given that expanding career technical education programs for secondary and postsecondary education is the #1 identified solution to help someone looking for a new job or wanting to develop skills per the Public Policy Survey conducted by Boise State University’s School of Public Service.

The bill passed on a party-line vote in the House of Representatives, and will now move to the Senate Local Government and Taxation Committee for consideration.

Additional Bill Updates

I’m excited to report that the resolution honoring 100 years of the 19th amendment (SCR 128) passed out of the Senate State Affairs committee this Friday. It now moves to the Senate Floor for consideration by the entire Senate. Additionally, Senator Cherie Buckner-Webb’s (D-Boise) bill to increase birth control prescriptions to 12-month supplies has been printed (SB1281). I also have legislation to create an Office of the Inspector General for the State of Idaho, and am cosponsoring a resolution honoring the 50th anniversary of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. I will be presenting both before their respective committees on Monday.

I hope to see you today at our town halls! As always, please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns you have.