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Boise, ID 83720-0081
U.S.A

(208) 332-1353

Boise Idaho Senator Michelle Stennett, Idaho State Senate Minority Leader

News Blog

2017 LEGISLATIVE NEWS, WEEK TWO, JANUARY 16-20

Michelle Stennett

"Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success." -Henry Ford

Yesterday we inaugurated a new President of the United States. I know some have felt divided, some have felt more united than ever, but my job in our state's capitol is to be a voice of reason when I represent the values of all my constituents. And so my work continues, and my responsibility to Idahoans and The Constitution serve as my sense of purpose.

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2017 LEGISLATIVE NEWS, WEEK ONE, JANUARY 9-13

Michelle Stennett

Education and the Economy

In Governor Otter’s State of the State address, education continues to be the top priority. His education budget includes $104,200,000 in funding for recommendations from the Governor’s Task Force for improving education. This funding is the third year of the 5-year funding K-12 plan which includes $58,000,000 for the career ladder for certified instructional employees and pupil service staff.  Unfortunately, pre-K or early learning was not mentioned.

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2016 Legislative News, WEEK EIGHT, Feb. 29-Mar. 4

Michelle Stennett

The so-called public nuisance bill passed my Resources and Environment committee and heads to the floor where passage is likely. S1338 asks the state to codify a soapbox for a single county official to "demand" action from federal land managers. The two county commissioners who testified indicated they would immediately sue if their demands weren't met. This crosses the line of constitutionality and opens us up to costly legal battles. While the legislature works to strip local control over wages and plastic bags, this bill would give unilateral authority to one rogue official to engage in hostile interactions with federal officials. Collaboration is the method we should continue to pursue as Idaho has led the way on improving land management by engaging all stakeholders to secure the greatest good.

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2016 Legislative News, WEEK SEVEN, Feb. 22-26

Michelle Stennett

"To Kill a Mockingbird" is the classic tale of two children confronting the harsh realities of racism on their way to adulthood. It won the Pulitzer Prize for Harper Lee, who passed away last week. Destined to become a classic, "All the Light We Cannot See" also takes us along on the journey of two young people against the harsh landscape of WWII. Last year, Anthony Doerr became the first Idaho-based author to win the Pulitzer Prize for fiction. On Thursday, the Senate unanimously passed a concurrent resolution which honors the Boise-based author, a source of pride for our state.

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2016 Legislative News, WEEK SIX, Feb. 15-19

Michelle Stennett

Thank you to everyone who took the time to show up for the Town Hall meetings held throughout District 26 last weekend. The turnout was great, especially for a holiday weekend, and the questions and comments were thoughtful and showed a great commitment to keeping the public in public policy. It confirms my belief that government works best when everyone is paying attention and doing their part.

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2016 Legislative News, WEEK TWO, Jan 18-22

Michelle Stennett

On Monday, we celebrated the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. His eloquent message of peace and justice rang throughout the statehouse. I hope we can maintain respectful debate in the face of new legislation restricting voter participation, to which Dr. King dedicated himself, and regulations that threaten the health of the public we were sent here to serve.

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Legislative News, END OF 2015 SESSION

Michelle Stennett

The Idaho Legislature adjourned on April 11th at 1:33 a.m. after 13 weeks in the Capitol. While it can be challenging to represent the diverse populations and interests of District 26, many of you expressed support for the most important issues confronting us this year. You wanted us to improve teacher compensation after too many years of low pay that ranked Idaho at the bottom. You asked us to extend Medicaid to cover uninsured workers and save taxpayers millions. You supported protecting access to public lands and upgrading roads and bridges to improve public safety and the movement of goods. While we may not have met all these goals, we did have some notable achievements and I wanted to share a recap of the 2015 legislative session from my vantage point.
 

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Legislative News, WEEK TWELVE, March 30-April 3, 2015

Michelle Stennett

Happy Easter!  The Senate will not be in session Friday and won't reconvene until Monday afternoon to allow for travel home over the weekend. It remains to be seen how next week will unfold, especially with the break in floor time, but there appears to be a commitment to address transportation funding, at least to some degree, before we adjourn for the year. That goal was complicated by actions taken this week in the Senate.
 

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Legislative News, WEEK ELEVEN, March 23-27, 2015

Michelle Stennett

The career ladder teacher funding legislation has passed both chambers by a wide margin (96 aye votes out of 105) and heads to the Governor for his preordained signature. Starting teacher salaries will rise from $31,750 to $32,700 in year one and to $44,375 by year five. The Idaho Education Association has an online salary allocation calculator for determining how the career ladder will impact individual teachers based on years of experience and levels of education.
 

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Legislative News, WEEK TEN, March 16-20, 2015

Michelle Stennett

It's the first day of Spring so it seems fitting that education legislation, namely the career ladder for funding teacher salaries, has come out of hibernation. 20 years of deep cuts to education funding devalued Idaho's teaching professionals and the critical role education plays in our economy. But today I'm happy to report that an arduous but highly collaborative negotiation process has led to a unanimous vote by the House Education Committee to send H296 to that chamber's floor with a "do pass" recommendation
 

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Legislative News, WEEK NINE, March 9-13, 2015

Michelle Stennett

It is possible that the session will not end on March 27th as was planned by Majority Leadership. This is primarily the result of the sluggish and uneven pace of legislation addressing education funding. Additionally, a new transportation fight has arisen in Week 9 with dueling measures to address the $262 million annual deficit in transportation maintenance first brought to the attention of the legislature in 2010.
 

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Legislative News, WEEK EIGHT, March 2-6, 2015

Michelle Stennett

This marks the end of our eighth week and it's possible we will leave town after just 15 more days of legislative work. The Majority Leaders addressed the press this week and they are sticking to their goal of adjourning on March 27th. There is every reason to believe we would do so without meeting our duties. Failing to adopt the Health Idaho Plan could cost the state and her counties $653 million over the next decade. Failing to address transportation infrastructure means we sink deeper into a maintenance deficit. But failing to adequately fund education means we lose another year of meeting the needs of Idaho's students and teachers. I'm willing to stay as long as it takes to do what we were sent here to do; craft public policy that benefits the citizens of Idaho. 
 

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Legislative News, WEEK SEVEN, Feb. 23-27, 2015

Michelle Stennett

Legislative News

WEEK SEVEN, February 23-27, 2015

What a long, strange week it's been! The pace of legislation is picking up dramatically with the introduction of bills ranging from religious shield laws in the guise of parental rights to abortion legislation that got Idaho national attention. A resolution to officially declare Idaho a Christian state was defeated and a scandalous email from a lobbyist angry over funding tax cuts vs. teacher salaries was leaked. Maybe we need to expand the scope of the anti-bullying bill introduced by Representative Ilana Rubel to cover more than school-age children.

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Legislative News, WEEK SIX, Feb. 16-20, 2015

Michelle Stennett

Legislative News

WEEK SIX, February 16-20, 2015

The big story of the week came yesterday when Idaho Education News reported that CenturyLink will not pull the plug on the Idaho Education Network (IEN) this Sunday as threatened. However, in an email sent to school districts, a manager with broadband contractor Education Networks of America (ENA) still indicated the possibility of cutting services to any district that hasn't signed a short-term contract with ENA by next Friday. I sent an email this week to all superintendents within District 26 outlining the process for directly applying for Federal e-rate funds before the March 26th deadline.

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