Legislative Update: March 9, 2020
This week we have been busy with hearing Senate Bills and getting a few House Bills sent to the Senate.
By the end of the week several bills dealing with property tax relief were introduced and discussed with some moving forward and some being voted down. We are still trying to find consensus on the right path forward to give some relief and not harm the ability to provide needed services.
Medicaid funding is still being discussed and bills are being voted on to find the right solution.
Next week I will carry SCR 123 on the House Floor to establish the State of Idaho's commitment to request federal grants to expand the Boise Veterans Cemetery and fund the renovation of multiple categorized life safety projects at the Lewiston and Pocatello Veterans Homes. The Veterans Cemetery Grant projects include construction of Memorial Walls in the upper portion of the cemetery; survey of available sections for in-ground urn burial plots; and survey, design and construction of two additional Columbarium Walls. The State Home Construction Grant projects include other projects at the Lewiston and Pocatello Veterans Homes. This resolution is necessary for the Idaho Division of Veterans Services (IDVS) to proceed with the application for the federal grant funds to provide 100% of the allowable expansion costs at the Veterans Cemetery and 65% of the allowable costs for the life safety projects at the Veterans Homes in Lewiston and Pocatello.
I met with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. I learned that they have chapters in all 50 states and are involved in Research, Education, Advocacy and Support to save lives. Some Idaho statistics: on average, one person died by suicide every 21 hours in the state and suicide is the 7th leading cause of death in Idaho. To get involved to prevent suicide go to www.afsp.org/advocate.
This week I received my award for averaging 10,000 steps per day during the month of February in the Blue Cross Foundation “Steps for Schools” contest. I received a check for $1,000.00 that I will donate to Popplewell Elementary in Buhl to be used to purchase exercise equipment. Blue Cross Foundation gave out $2.9 Million dollars toward programs, projects and grants last year. More information can be found at www.bcidahofoundation.org.
I received the annual report from the Idaho Head Start Association. They are in 146 Idaho Communities in 39 Counties. They conducted 26,796 home visits and have 6,852 volunteers. Programs include School Readiness, Child Welfare, Birth to Three and Children’s Health.
I was happy to co-sponsor HB 373, the bill updates language clarifying Idaho Correctional Industries as a training program for incarcerated individuals in Idaho. The bill clarifies that participants are trainees, not employees and allows Idaho Correctional Industries to create and maintain training programs with all agricultural products and allows for a portion of training stipends to be deposited in reentry savings. This is legislation that I have been involved with for the past three years and finally we got it through.
I met with the 2020 Idaho Youth Education Summit sponsored by the National Rifle Association (NRA). The main goals of this program are to give these students the opportunity to develop an awareness and desire to participate in all levels of government, learn about their state's unique heritage and history, and obtain a better understanding of volunteer organizations and how young citizens can become involved in serving their communities. At the meeting there were students from Wendell, Idaho Falls, Meridian, Nampa and more.
Friday, March 13, 2020 was the first Idaho Women’s Day. This was a statewide commemoration and celebration of the centennial anniversary of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Learn more at https://www.idahowomen100.com
We are nearing the end of the session and I appreciate everyone who has called or emailed with suggestions and questions. It is an honor to serve as your Representative.