2014 Legislative Session: Week 10

Greetings from Boise

Guns on Campus bill was passed in the House by a vote of 50 yes and 19 no with 1 absent.  The 19 no votes were from 13 Democrats and 6 Republicans.  My e-mail was overwhelmingly opposed to Senate Bill 1254 on firearms/concealed weapons on campus.  Nearly seven hours of  testimony occurred last week in House State Affairs.  I believe there were  7 in support of the bill and 41 opposed and 10 others signed to testify, but they left before their names were called.  The bill now goes to the Governor.

House Bill 548 gives a $126 million income tax cut over six years, and I voted no on this bill.  I believe we need this $21 million annually to be used elsewhere in our state budgets.  I understand this tax cut bill which passed the House will not be heard because  the Senate Committee Chair  where it was assigned is not going to give it a hearing.   The education budget that is coming out of the JFAC Committee is a lot better than the past few years, but Idaho still has a long way to go to get our education funding back to previous years, so I believe no new tax cut is needed now.

Idaho Democrats are supportive of hearing Add the Words legislation to end discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.  In fact all of us have signed on for the past eight years as co-sponsors.  I do understand the frustration of the people who have sent e-mails and are participating in protests.  However, I do not see any movement by the Majority Party to hold a hearing on a bill to add the words this session.  It will be crucial this fall when there are candidate debates that citizens ask the candidates their opinion on this issue.

There is a bill back this year that was stopped last year.  House Bill 507 would give up to $10 million in tax credits for investing in scholarships for private schools.  I believe this violates our state constitution, but it also undermines public education.  This bill has passed the House Revenue and Taxation on a split vote and now goes to the entire House.  This bill encourages kids to switch from public to private schools.  There would be a tax credit for 50% of the donation for investing in scholarship and donors could deduct the full donation from their state income tax for a double benefit.  Contact your legislators with your opinion of this bill.

The House voted on House Bill 487 which pertains to Labor Negotiations.  The City of Pocatello, Firefighters Union, and the Police Union are opposed to this bill.  It passed the House on a vote of 44 yes and 24 no with 2 absent and it is now assigned to Senate State Affairs for a hearing.  This bill would not allow either side to discuss negotiations in executive session.

 

Thank you for the opportunity to serve as your State Representative.  Please continue to contact me at esmith@house.idaho.gov or 208-332-1031 or 208-237-1462 on weekends.

Representative Elaine Smith

District 29