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Boise, ID 83720-0081

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Boise Idaho Senator Michelle Stennett, Idaho State Senate Minority Leader

News Blog

Safety First!

Michelle Stennett

                                                                         February 16, 2019


"Safety is a common denominator across all aspects of life, hence knowledge should always be shared."

Doug Bourne


Opioid Overdose Prevention

Idaho is currently on track to have the broadest naloxone-access (Naloxone is the drug used to treat drug overdoses) law in the nation. Opioids are a class of drugs that include the illegal drug heroin and pain relievers such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, morphine, and others. This week Governor Little signed HB 12 into law, making the opioid-overdose drug available from any licensed or registered health care professionals to be given in the event of an overdose. Currently, Idaho and the rest of the United States had been plagued by the opioid crisis. This new law will be instrumental in prevention and will save thousands of lives.


Hand Held Cell Phone Ban

Currently, law only prohibits texting while driving andSB1064would ban the use of any handheld devices statewide, with the exception of emergencies and first responders carrying out their duties. Fines set for a violation is $50, $100, $200 for first, second, or third offenses plus the possibility of a license suspension up to 90 days. This bill would override existing local bans already in place in cities such as Hailey, Ketchum, Pocatello, and Idaho Falls. Earlier this session, a bill was introduced to ban cities from restricting drivers from talking on handheld devices while driving, but the bill was rejected unanimously by the House Local Government Committee.


Supporting Our First Responders

The Senate overwhelmingly passedSB1028 this week to extend workers' compensation coverage to our state's first responders who suffer from traumatic and serious work-related psychological injuries. To date, if a police officer, firefighter, paramedic, or other first responder needs psychological treatment, workers' compensation only covers it if psychological injury is accompanied by a physical one. Thank you to all the brave men and women across Idaho who serve as our first responders.


Liquor Licenses

SB1040 would get rid of the state's current quota system for issuing liquor licenses based on population and instead delegates power to local cities and governments to issue licenses that could be distributed anywhere in the state. This proposed legislation would apply only to sit-down or hotel restaurants. The current system either forces entrepreneurs to wait years for a $750 state-issued liquor license or spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to buy a license on the secondary market. While I believe the current law is outdated and costly, the new law would negatively impact existing license holders. I voted to hold the bill in committee, along with most of my colleagues, in order to create a better piece of legislation. The sponsor of the bill, Senator Rice (R-Caldwell) plans to add amendments and bring it back to committee next week.


Budget Increases

This week the Joint Finance and Appropriations Committee began prepping to set budgets for Fiscal Year 2020. Most notably the committee voted to increase revenue for the state budget by 7 percent. Originally the Economic Outlook Committee requested a 5.7 percent increase and the governor requested an 8 percent increase. An increase of 7 percent will allow JFAC to fund programs such as Medicaid Expansion and the governor's Literacy Proficiency program.