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Legislative Update – Rep. Heather Scott

The Life of a Legislator

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Idaho State Seal

Rep. Heather Scott – District 1


The Life of a Legislator

I have decided to write about something totally different this week to share a little insight into my life as a legislator.  As many of you know, 2016 is the end of my freshman term here at the Capitol.  It has been a humbling, fascinating and eye-opening experience.

Legislators from every district in the State travel to Boise for the annual session to deal with the business of discussing and making laws for the State.  The decisions made here in Boise determine the legal direction our State is heading on a myriad of issues.  The Session lasts for approximately 3 months (January thru March) before legislators return home to their districts and their personal lives.

Scott Legislators are routinely “wined and dined” as part of the political process.  Special interest groups’ efforts are legal and seem to be effective, because there is never a shortage of them.  Their efforts are continuous throughout the entire 3 months of the session.  These meals and social events are provided almost every day and evening (breakfast, lunch and dinner) for legislators and the cost of putting on these functions never seems to deter the lobbyists.

Legislators from outside of the Boise area rent apartments, stay with friends, or live in hotels.  We are paid a per diem of about $129/day to pay for the cost of living in Boise.  Legislators receive a base salary of roughly $18,000/per year, which equates to about $225/week take home (after tax and insurance).  The State allows legislators and their families to purchase health insurance through the State, and all legislators are required to sign up for PERSI- which is the State’s pension plan.  Legislators who are Committee Chairmen are paid more.  Legislators are not provided any personal paid staff unless you are a Committee Chairman.  While in session, I share one secretary with 35 other legislators.

The State reimburses legislators to return home every weekend, if they chose. Many times legislators will return home to update their constituents at town hall meetings.  As most you are aware, and to the general dismay of my husband and dog, it is rare that I choose to return home to North Idaho on the weekends during the session.  This is primarily because all of the travel wears me out instead of refreshing me.  Weekends in Boise allow me more time to catch up on legislative work which never seems to slack off.

Life is quite different in Boise compared to our District in North Idaho.  Everything is in close proximity and the choices are many.   Last weekend I was invited to attend a Ted Cruz rally.  Within the hour, I was at Boise State University and on stage with Senator Cruz giving a talk!   In North Idaho, that would never happen so quickly or be so close.

Weekends in Boise are quite different than what I would be doing up back home. There is no firewood to haul in, chickens to feed, chores to be done, or a black dog waiting for a tennis ball to be thrown.  This tiny bit of new found “free time” allows me to spend time with the good people of Boise and realize how different our lives and goals may be.  This helps me to understand where their ideas are coming from and also helps me to educate my own constituents.

Boise City Police “Ride Along”

Scott This past weekend, I was fortune to be able to do a “ride along” with Officer Casey Hancuff (now there is real police name for you) of the Boise City Police Department.  Officer Handcuff was a true pleasure to be with and reaffirms my faith that there are many excellent law enforcement officers who truly care about the people they encounter.    It was a very eye opening experience.  Within 20 minutes of my call, I was in his cruiser and patrolling the streets of Boise.   I got a crash course in how the entire city police system operates.

I toured their facilities, which included interrogation rooms, a crime lab, a work out gym and lots of offices.  I also was  allowed to sit in on a police briefing.   While patrolling, we assisted on a DUI where a man hit two cars and destroyed his own; interviewed the victim of an assault and arrested and booked the woman who committed the crime; and pulled over a lady who ran a red light right in front of the cruiser (she was fortunate to just got a warning this time!)

Scott It was a wonderful experience and I was overwhelmed by the kindness and respect Officer Hancuff showed toward the people he dealt with under stressful circumstances.  He is a true public servant and the City of Boise is blessed to have him.

In Closing…

As you might remember from last year, I also visited two prisons and an airline business (Western Aircraft).  I believe visiting these facilities is critical in helping me to understand how the laws I will be voting on effect the lives of so many Idahoans.  My hope is that more legislators will take advantage of these opportunities to get a better understanding of how serious their job is and the importance of honoring the oath they take.

It is such an honor to represent the people of my District.  Thank you for your continued support.


constitutional carry rep heather scott
Rep Heather Scott

In Liberty,

Rep Heather Scott

District 1

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State Capitol  |  P.O. Box 83720  |  Boise, Idaho 83720-0081  |  (208) 920-3120