Improving Our Roads and Bridges
Tuesday, Transportation & Defense Committee Chair Rep. Joe Palmer introduced a bill to improve the roads and bridges you drive on every day. House Bill 133 would amend the Transportation Expansion and Congestion Mitigation (TECM) Program to provide for additional funds for Idaho’s roads and bridges. It increases the 1% sales tax already used to bond for TECM projects to 3%, but not less than $45 million, for bonding purposes. It also allows for local governments to participate in bonding for projects. Finally, it increases the fees for issuing automobile titles for use on local transportation systems.
Protecting Your Rights
Your Idaho House Republican Caucus is working on more legislation to protect your rights. Assistant Majority Leader Rep. Jason Monks introduced legislation this week that would protect the separation and balance of powers between the executive and legislative branches of government. It would ensure that all Idahoans have the right to work, provide for their families, and that they can contribute to the economy during an emergency disaster declaration. Constitutional rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution, and the Constitution of the state of Idaho are definitively protected in this legislation.
This legislation would:
- NOT eliminate the Governor’s ability to declare an emergency
- NOT endanger federal funds stemming from the emergency disaster declaration
- NOT slow the emergency response to COVID-19 or the vaccine rollout.
Representatives Jim Addis, Wendy Horman, and Mike Moyle introduced legislation to increase transparency on how your tax dollars are being spent. House Bill 73 would make it easier to compare the financial data for counties, cities, urban renewal agencies, and all other local districts. It would also enhance public access to education providers’ financial data and ensure uniform auditing of health district finances. The bill would also create a committee to help those local agencies report those numbers and allow them to be published on the Transparent Idaho website. It passed out of Committee and will be heard by the full House of Representatives.
Honoring Their Sacrifice
Caucus members are honoring the three Idaho National Guardsmen who made the ultimate sacrifice earlier this week: Chief Warrant Officer 4 Jesse Anderson, Chief Warrant Officer 3 George “Geoff” Laubhan Jr., and Chief Warrant Officer 3 Matthew Peltzer. Monday, the Idaho House Transportation and Defense Committee presented Major General Michael Garshak, Adjutant General of Idaho and Commander of the Idaho National Guard, with three flags that were flown over the U.S. Capitol and the Idaho Capitol. We will not forget the service of these citizen soldiers.
Making a Broadband Plan
Majority Caucus Chair Rep. Megan Blanksma introduced House Bill 127 on Thursday. This legislation creates an Idaho Broadband Advisory Board and establishes the Idaho Broadband Fund. The Advisory Board would consist of 9 members and be tasked with developing, implementing and maintaining a statewide broadband plan. The Idaho Broadband Fund would be created to accept money as allocated by the Legislature and distribute such funds according to the statewide plan as implemented by the Idaho Broadband Advisory Board.
“Much the way the State Water Board has provided a consistent planning and prioritization structure for state water projects, the Idaho Broadband Advisory Board will provide the same support for statewide broadband roll out. Hopefully, this is the jumpstart we need to start focusing on the unserved rural communities across the state,” said Rep. Blanksma.
A Historical Working Group
Speaker of the House Scott Bedke recently announced the formation of the House Historical Working Group.
“In light of the recent Supreme Court decision confirming legislative control of the 1st Floor of our Historic Capitol Building, I have tasked Representatives Megan Blanksma, Wendy Horman, and Laurie Lickley to work closely with the Idaho Historical Society and develop a plan for the Historic Vault space and open it as a permanent exhibit,” said Speaker Bedke. “It is my hope that by this summer we will all be able to enjoy the return of Capitol tours, with the addition of an exhibit featuring rotating artifacts from the Historical Museum and focusing on the historical value of the Capitol.”
Last month, the Idaho Supreme Court ruled 5-0 that State Treasurer must adhere to the law and vacate the Statehouse office space. The highest Court in Idaho unanimously agreed that the Legislature has the sole authority to control and allocate the space on the first floor of the Capitol.
You can learn more about all the legislation being debated by our Caucus members. Just check the House Reading Calendar found at the link below: