2013 Legislative Report, Week 8

Week 8 at the Legislature

Last week is the start of the second half of the Legislative session because we have new pages in the House and the Senate. We started that week with the annual Memorial Service recognizing former legislators in the House of Representatives who have died this past year. Representative Carolyn Meline did an outstanding job presenting a tribute to Perry Swisher, who served in the 1950s and then again in the 1970s from Bannock County.

Below I have listed a few of the bills that have been debated or introduced in committees this week and last week.

S1042—After 6 hours of debate, the Senate passed S1042 on a vote of 23-12, sending the bill that sets up a state run health care exchange over to the House. Multiple motions to send the bill back to committee or to the amending order failed and many had predicted it would last through the night. The bill faces a few more hurdles before it is debated on the floor and with twice as many members, debate may last a long time. There is a trailer bill, HB 179, about a State Health Insurance Exchange on legislative oversight. The news is that S1042 and H179 are being combined into one bill, which will be heard in Health & Welfare Committee.

S1108—Democratic legislators held a press conference about S1108. This bill, brought by the Farm Bureau, would make it even harder to put an initiative or referendum on the ballot. The Idaho Democrat Legislators Caucus stands in opposition of this bill, especially after the resounding defeat of the “Luna Laws” in November. This awaits a hearing in the Senate State Affairs Committee.

S1089—This bill, introduced by the Idaho School Boards Association, would eliminate the early retirement incentive program for educators. The existing law was created as a way to save the state money by retiring more senior educators and replacing them with new educators. It also provides an alternative for female educators who take time away from their profession to raise families and then return to the classroom. This bill is now in the House Education Committee.

H88—Known as the HOME Act, the bill passed the House with a vote of 62-7-1. This bill provides a tax credit to new businesses or businesses that have expanded for new employees, including veterans. It is now in Senate Local Government Committee.

H159—The bill pertains to retail sale of liquor for a specialty non-transferable liquor license for the Nez Perce tribe convention center. The bill came from House State Affairs with a 9–7 vote; then it passed the House with a vote of 51-19. This liquor bill is now in Senate State Affairs.

H 220-The bill is titled Historical Horse Racing and passed from House State Affairs on a vote of 14-2. It would allow three race tracks to have computer terminals to broadcast past horse races for current betting without knowing the names of the horses, but having other information. The closest race track for us with this type of betting would be Sandy Downs in Idaho Falls. The House will now vote on this issue.

H193-The bill on emergency telecommunications would add a charge for 911 on pre-paid cell phones. Those of us who have cell phone plans and land lines are already paying a 911 charge on our bills, so this would create fairness for all phone users.

H206-The bill on public charter schools funding was pulled from the House floor back to the House Education Committee. After more discussion in the House Education Committee, this bill has been send to General Orders for amendments.

In House State Affairs the committee has had 2 RS (pre-bills) presented for introduction and 2 bills about guns. House bill 192 is about a license to carry concealed weapons. It would require more training to obtain an enhanced concealed weapon permit, which could be recognized by more states.

Last week I met with five ISU social work students on their issues. Representative Meline and I met with 11 students from the Liberty Montessori High School from Rigby. I enjoyed visiting with them and hearing their comments, after they had spent three days at the Capitol. The ShoBans hosted a luncheon for legislators to better acquaint us with what is happening at Fort Hall. This week legislators will be meeting with Idaho PTA representatives and I know there will be PTA members from our area in attendance.

Please continue to contact me on issues of concern to you by e-mailing me at esmith@house.idaho.gov or calling 1-800-626-0471. Thank you for the privilege of serving as your District 29 State Representative.

Elaine Smith