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Just one week ago, Governor Brad Little, with First Lady Teresa Little by his side, swore under oath that he would uphold the Constitution as leader of our great state. We look forward to working with Governor Little in the future by ensuring good public policy passes his desk. The Idaho House Republican Caucus would like to thank the Idaho National Guard for an inauguration well done.

Monday afternoon we heard from Governor Little and his plans as Idaho’s 33rd leader. The statewide televised address was held in the House of Representatives, joined by our Senate, Supreme Court Justices and the Constitutional Officers.

Following the State of the State, Idaho House Republican Leadership held a news conference for our Statehouse press. This is the first time we have held a news conference like this in as long as some of our institutional minds can remember.

It is important that we be there to talk about legislation as it makes its way through the House to ensure that you are better informed about public policy and its effects on you.

Some of the big issues we will be watching are:

  • Education Funding: the completion of the 5 year plan
  • Implementation of Proposition 2: Medicaid expansion
  • Licensing Freedom Act: Removal of 2 regulations for every 1 new
Right now, House Committees are working through the rules from legislation that was passed in the Second Regular Session of the 64th Idaho Legislature. Agencies disseminate the rules based on the legislation and public meetings that took place throughout Idaho over the last nine months. The process taking place right now ensures legislative intent.

Committee meetings started right away on Tuesday and have been taking place throughout the week. Photo: House Health and Welfare Chairman Fred Wood is leading a productive discussion on the rules and guidelines for the Committee.

Our own Speaker of the House, Scott Bedke, kicked off the session by introducing legislation addressing the water concerns on the Boise River Basin, known as Basin 63. The Ways and Means Committee agreed to introduce what will now become House Bill 1 (HB 1).

This first piece of legislation addresses water storage and fill of the Boise River Reservoir System after a flood release. Specifics include how the Idaho Department of Water Resources will account for stored water following the release for flood control and if that water is released, how will those with water rights be satisfied.

“HB1 is good public policy that addresses the serious concerns of water users in the Boise River Basin, but even more specifically it outlines the role of the Idaho Department of Water Resources director in authorizing water rights for new water storage. This issue has been discussed and litigated extensively, HB1 is part of a comprehensive solution,” said Speaker Scott Bedke. “Water, water rights and water storage are incredibly sensitive and challenging issues, so ensuring we are proactive in protecting Idaho’s storage rights is vital.”