2013 Legislative Report, Week 5

Week of Feb. 4- 8, 2013

The Education bills brought forth by the Idaho School Board Association have been withdrawn to be reworked. We will have to wait to see what the new version of their bills will be.

This week I attended the Higher Education presentation on research luncheon with presenters from Lewis Clark State College, University of Idaho, Idaho State University, and Boise State University. Naturally I was very proud of the ISU presentation by Dr. Eric Burgett, Associate Professor in the School of Nuclear Engineering.

For your information I voted no last week in House State Affairs on the rule to allow lottery kiosks being placed in bars. I thought this was an expansion of the lottery and targeted the people who have drinks at a bar. The rule was rejected due to my vote.

The Department of Commerce Director Jeff Sayer presented an overview to the House Business Committee on what the department does. Their goals are to protect and retain businesses, grow existing business, and attract new business. The emerging clusters of business in Idaho are in the following business areas: software, recreational tech, aerospace, bio tech, wine, and light manufacturing. Idaho exports nearly $6 billion annually with 56% of that amount in electronics and manufacturing, 33% in mining, 32% in food and agriculture, 10% wood and paper, 9% from transportation, etc. Half of the exports are going to Asian markets.

The LINE (Leadership in Nuclear Energy) Commission appointed by Governor Otter presented their report in a joint meeting of the House Environment, Energy & Technology Committee and Senate Resources and Environment Committee. The number one finding was that safety and environmental protection are non-negotiable. The federal government needs to decide where nuclear storage will be in the United States with a federal policy to be created. Idaho needs to be at the table for discussion because INL is the leading nuclear research facility. For the full report go to the Idaho Dept. of Commerce website.

I was the floor sponsor of House bill 8 brought forth by the Department of Finance. This bill amends the Idaho Credit Code to clarify that a a license is required to advertise or solicit to make consumer loans in Idaho. There has been a proliferation of unlicensed online payday lenders targeting Idahoans. The bill did pass the House chamber.

This week and last week we have seen people from Pocatello and Bannock County representing Greater Pocatello Chamber of Commerce members on their annual legislative tour, Family Residency, AFL-CIO, Community Bankers, Association of Cities, Idaho Health Care Association, County officials for their Association of Counties meetings, ISU staff, Farm Bureau, and Credit Unions. Congratulations to Roger Chase for his re-appointment to the Idaho Water Resource Board.

To contact me my e-mail is esmith@house.idaho.gov or call 1-800-626-0471 or live streaming of meetings on the internet at www.idahoptv.org/insession. The most current legislative information is located at www.legislature.idaho.gov.
Elaine Smith – State Representative District 29