An Idaho Medicaid Solution
Caucus-members helped jump start the discussion on Medicaid expansion this morning to discuss House Bill 249 in a packed Lincoln Auditorium. Originally introduced on Wednesday, this legislation provides a starting point for Idaho-centered Medicaid expansion, aimed at promoting a healthy life for all Idahoans, while being responsible with all our tax dollars.
Following the morning’s hearing, Caucus Chair Rep. Megan Blanksma and bill sponsor Rep. John Vander Woude held a news conference for reporters from around the state. The message was assuring the public the Caucus is listening to people’s concerns, and working to find a fiscally-sound Idaho solution.
“Proposition 2 was presented to the voters with no clear indication of the massive fiscal impact it could impose, said Rep. Vander Woude. “It is our Constitutional duty to act responsibly when spending taxpayer dollars.”
Strengthening Parental Rights
House Bill 120 is on its way to the Senate Education Committee. It passed the full House on Wednesday with a 56-14 vote. The legislation will change how Idaho’s students take part in sex education, by giving parents the complete picture of what their kids are learning.
“A lot of sex education and instruction involving sexuality is coming through the schools, and parents have absolutely no idea that it’s happening, because it’s bypassing a lot of the protocol that we already have in place,” said the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Barbara Ehardt.
Currently, parents must opt-out of sex education or instruction for their children, but often, those notices are lost by kids or forgotten by teachers. Under the new proposal, a parent or legal guardian would opt-in to sex education, or any presentation regarding sexuality.
Other educational opportunities would be provided to students whose parents do not want their students to participate.
From War Hero to the Legislature
Rep. Bill Goesling’s military service as a Commander in the United States Navy was profiled by Idaho Education News on Wednesday, calling the Representative from District 5, “A war hero, who served his country from the cockpit of a photo reconnaissance aircraft, high above North Vietnam.”
Rep. Goesling served for 24 years as a production test pilot and a flight instructor.
K-12 School Budgets Pass
The House of Representatives passed all seven public school budgets on Tuesday with a 6.1% increase or a $109 million more in K-12 spending for 2019-20 school year.
The budgets included funding for:
- Teacher, administrator, and staff raises
- District discretionary spending
- Incentives for our state’s best educators
- Expansion of Idaho’s K-3 literacy initiative
Letting Voters Decide
House Bill 217 is on its way to the full House for consideration. This week, the House Revenue and Taxation Committee passed the legislation requiring voter approval by 55% on any public projects using urban renewal money.
It was Idaho Day on Monday!
Former Rep. Linden Bateman highlighted the festivities with a passionate speech about our great state. The celebration also included a performance by East Junior High’s student orchestra, and Patti Syme singing “Here We Have Idaho.”