2020 Legislative Session Kicks Off
The legislative session kicked off with Governor Little’s 2nd State of the State address. His goals for the year were mixed: some good, some not so good. I was happy to hear that he wanted smaller budget increases, removal of 30 outdated statutes, reduction of the regulatory burden, and to ease our military families’ licensing needs.
Some of his goals were disappointing though. He mentioned that he wanted to offer an increased credit for grocery tax relief instead of repealing the tax completely (as 44 other states have). He plans on using taxpayer money to fund 25 students’ medical school educations, and he wants to rob important state funds to help cover the ever-growing cost of Medicaid expansion.
This year’s session is expected to be short; we will start with comprehensive rules review, and budget approvals (I expect the leadership will also throw in a few popular pieces of legislation to tee up an election year).
Over the interim I worked on several pieces of legislation, including some proposed by the dedicated moms from Health Freedom Idaho (HFI), who are working to restore parental rights. I met up with the HFI team in the capitol this week to give them their first piece of legislation, hot off the printer.
Hot Issues: Please give me your feedback
I’ve listed some of the hot topics being discussed at the capitol below. I want to represent what the people of rural Idaho and District 7 think, not the special interests of the Treasure Valley, so please take a minute and email me your thoughts on these issues.
45 Legislative Districts: The Idaho Constitution limits the number of legislative districts to “no more than 35”. Redistricting efforts will commence after this year’s census; Legislative leadership is pushing a constitutional amendment to increase the number of districts to “no more than 45”. Some think this will increase rural representation, but I think it will increase the number of urban districts and further dilute rural representation.
Should we support this constitutional amendment?
H308 Driving while using a handheld device: The city of Meridian outlawed the use of handheld devices while driving earlier this year. Do you know the boundaries of the city of Meridian when you drive through the Treasure Valley? H308 would make handheld wireless device usage a state issue and prohibit the city of Meridian from enforcing this ordinance. Critics of H308 say the wording is too vague and would include HAM radios and CBs.
Do you think cell phone use while driving should be decided at the state or local level?
Bureau vs. Division (Idaho’s Occupational Licensing): Former Representative and Lt. Governor candidate Kelley Packer was appointed Director of the Idaho Bureau of Occupational Licenses in 2019, and she is requesting the name be changed to “Division” with a handful of added responsibilities. The proposal details will be available to the public on Monday. Please share any thoughts you have about the Bureau’s name change request.
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