As the 2020 session ends and I look back, it has been a three-month whirlwind.
The Second Regular Session of the 65th Idaho Legislature began on January 6, 2020, and adjourned Sine Die on March 20, 2020. The 2020 session saw legislators deal with several familiar themes including: public school funding and teacher salaries, property taxes, water, sales taxes, and elections. The ending days of the 2020 session saw the Legislature work under national and state emergency declarations issued by the President and the Governor to combat COVID-19.
The Legislature provided additional funding for teacher pay under the career ladder. That legislation also added an advanced professional compensation rung to the career ladder.
There were more than 775 pieces of draft legislation, of which approximately 67% (525) were introduced as bills. Some have successfully made their way through the legislative process and some wait to see if the Governor signs them into law.
FY 2021 revenue projections represent the tenth consecutive year of growth in the state. The Division of Financial Management provided an original forecast of $4.15 billion; however, EORAC recommended JFAC and the Legislature use a revenue forecast of $4.13 billion and employ a cautious approach for budgeting. JFAC used the EORAC recommendation for setting budgets. The Legislature followed the recommendation of the Joint Change in Employee Compensation Committee, which included a 2% salary merit increase for state employees. Several bills impacting revenues are still being considered.
March 24th was National Ag Day, a day to recognize and celebrate the abundance provided by agriculture. Every year, producers, agricultural associations, corporations, universities, government agencies and countless others across the United State join to recognize the contributions of agriculture.
Hats off to Idaho FFA members who in 2019, invested 798,778 hours in their Supervised Agriculture Experience (SAE) projects, Career Development Events/Leadership Development Events (CDE/LDE) activities, community service projects, and FFA activities. Members logged 12,281 SAE projects with a direct investment of $2,299,084. This equates to an $4,971,891 economic impact. FFA makes a positive impact on the lives of students as well as the communities those programs serve.
As we deal with the issue of COVID-19, I’ve found that the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors (NAIFA) has information at consumer site that provides individuals and businesses with information to avoid scams and tips on who to contact regarding health questions.
Stay healthy and thanks for your support during this challenging time.