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Time Is Flying – Rep. Karey Hanks – District 35

I would like some input from my constituents on the proposal to designate Craters of the Moon as a National Park.

Time Is Flying - Rep. Karey Hanks - District 35
Capital building of the State of Idaho at night

The legislature has now been in session for nearly five weeks and time is flying

Rep. Karey Hanks – District 35

My committees are proving to be challenging and rewarding.  The Health & Welfare committee has been debating many licensure bills. This week we were presented with a bill that would require fingerprinting as part of the background check for massage therapists.  We achieved a minor success when five fellow committee members voted NO in committee on this massage therapy bill having to do with increased board oversight.  We were able to stall this bill for a day or two and not allow it to just sail through committee on a unanimous vote.  Unfortunately, this was approved later with a full committee and was passed on the House floor for a full vote. I voted NO because I am concerned about more unnecessary requirements and because prospective clients may not make background check inquiries about a massage therapist because this proposed law would assumes background checks assure adequate protection.

In Judiciary, Rules and Administration committee we listened to testimony to adopt the Rule of 80 for Dispatchers/Emergency Communications officers, and Idaho Department of Juvenile Corrections/County juvenile staff. The Rule of 80 basically allows these individuals to retire 5 years earlier. While I appreciate the stress and difficulty of their work, I also have grave concerns about the viability of sustaining PERSI (Public Employment Retirement System of Idaho) if we continue to add more people to this retirement system. I want to insure that current law enforcement and firefighters benefits for those who put their life on the line every day, are protected and fully funded. Adding 1200 additional new people to this system via Rule 80 is not prudent. I think it would be more beneficial to encourage a raise in pay for the county employees to help make the jobs more attractive (state employees currently receive a 3% raise).

Christy Zito and I are still urging fellow legislators, including State Affairs committee chairman Tom Loertscher, to support and allow a hearing on 1) the Castle Doctrine and 2) the removal of the residency requirement for handguns in Idaho city limits. These bills are “in the drawer” at this point and we may be running out of time to pass them. Please contact Chairman Loertscher at tloertscher@house.idaho.gov and your own representatives at the www.legislature.idaho.gov or www.isaa.org

I would like some input from my constituents on the proposal to designate Craters of the Moon as a National Park. Presently it is a national monument. Many county commissioners and others have offered support to this status change in hopes that it will boost their local economies.  The Idaho Farm Bureau has expressed some legitimate concerns.  If you have comments please email me at khanks@house.kdaho.gov.

I want to thank you all for your encouragement and support. I appreciate this opportunity to represent District 35—Fremont, Jefferson, Clark and Butte counties. In addition to helping make District 35 a stronger place to call home, I have been walking over 15,000 steps/day most days to help earn money for elementary schools in the District. We are competing with Fitbits through the month of February!