Legislative Update- January 6, 2020

Legislative Update- January 6, 2020

A true leader has the confidence to stand alone, the courage to make tough decisions, and the compassion to listen to the needs of others. —Douglas McArthur

The Second Regular Session of the 65th Idaho Legislature convened Monday, and I am certain the tread on my shoes will need replaced soon. We are off and running.

Governor Little gave his State of the State Address Monday. There was a lot to like. It has been since 2014 that we have seen a budget this conservative, limiting general fund spending growth to 3.75 percent. Now, our members in the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee will start to review those recommendations before addressing the State’s funding needs in a thoughtful and disciplined manner. A couple highlights include, a surplus of $60 million, increasing rainy-day funds by a total of $102 million, a four percent increase in spending on K-12 education, a $30 million increase to pay for experienced teachers, and $35 million to reduce the grocery sales tax burden. 

Administrative Rules across the board are up for review and re-authorization. Much of my time this week was spent reviewing those.  Health and Welfare, on Wednesday, reviewed more than 24 including the Board of Pharmacy, Board of Medicine, Board of Nursing, Board of Acupuncture, and Board of Optometry to name just a few. Many were Omnibus and Omnibus Fee Rules, which were rules passed in prior years and recommended for reauthorization. None of them were controversial. 2020 brings about the 200th anniversary of the birth of Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing, so stay tuned for recognition of the value nurses serve throughout Idaho and our commitment to their support.

We introduced nine pieces of legislation in Health and Welfare Friday. Hearings on those have been tentatively scheduled for the week of January 20. Please go to the legislative website to review those and provide comments.

I had the opportunity to sit in on a White House conference call surrounding President Trump’s work to modernize the National Environment Protection Act. Modernization of NEPA is a HUGE step in the right direction for not only our ranching and rural communities, but also for our roads, bridges, airports, railways, renewable energy projects, and waterways. Although we would all like to see more, the increased efforts to eliminate further burdens on project renewals and delivery is valued. Idaho leads the way in public land management and bringing together diverse users. 

As always, I am honored to serve the good people of District 25 and look forward to seeing and hearing from you. 

Stronger Roots. Stronger Families. Stronger Communities. 

Please follow along on Facebook and Twitter or Idaho’s Legislative Website for agendas, minutes, rules, and proposed legislation: www.legislature.idaho.gov.

Representative Laurie Lickley