House bill 396 was brought forth by the Prescription Drug Abuse Workgroup: the bill states that state prescribers shall register for online access to the Controlled Substances Prescriptions Database. Only 32% of Idaho prescribers are registered, so this bill will improve that statistic. The bill passed in the house with 64 yes and 6 no. Currently Idaho is fourth in the nation for having the most prescription drug abuses. There are more deaths by prescription drug abuse than there are deaths in car accidents.
House Joint Resolution 2 passed the house on a vote of 67 yes with 3 absent. This resolution proposes an amendment to Article III of the Constitution of the State of Idaho. If passed by the voters in November 2014, legislative delegation of rulemaking authority over state agencies would be placed in the Constitution. Idaho is the only state in the nation to oversee state agency rules.
Guns on Campus bill (Senate 1254) passed with a committee vote of 7 yes to 2 no to the full Senate for a vote. It is really too bad that testimony was cut off, so many individuals who came from big distances in Idaho did not get a chance to give their opinion. The bill should have been held over for one day to allow more testimony the next day. Several of the universities and law enforcement were present, but were not allowed to testify. I expect the bill will pass on the Senate floor.
The Idaho Soil and Water Conservation Districts did a presentation to the House Environment, Energy & Technology Committee about the Pebble Creek Project in Southeast Idaho. This project was brought forth by the landowners with several different agencies participating to reconstruct two channels, which had been straightened in the 1940s for irrigation purposes, to their original meandering pattern. This project promotes a healthy stream, reduce livestock impacts, and creates a healthy fish habitat. This project preserves natural resources with a larger impact on conservation due to many partners. Way to go Southeast Idaho!
The bill to provide necessary support for the implementation of a new technology system for the Idaho Courts was introduced in House State Affairs, but will have a full hearing by the House Judiciary and Rules Committee. This bill will improve access to the courts and court records, will use electronic filing for efficiency, will have electronic storage of records, and will use video conferencing. This will greatly enhance the court system into the modern age of information and communication.
On Thursday The Office of Performance Evaluations presented to JLOC (Joint Legislative Oversight Committee) the report on Confinement of Juvenile Offenders. The office reported that the average daily custody of confined juvenile offenders has decreased with most juvenile offenders remaining in the community and are not confined. It was found that more than 31% of the department’s appropriation goes to the counties. I do have a list of all the programs in every county. There were suggestions give for follow up by the department. One was to direct state efforts toward prevention and early intervention for at-risk-children and their families. I agree the state needs to reinvest in prevention and early intervention efforts within Idaho’s schools. Some ways for these efforts to be achieved would be to reinstate community resource workers, social workers and other support staff to work with at risk children. Dedicated Safe and Drug Free School dollars and early childhood education could also assist with early intervention. Head Start in Pocatello always has a waiting list, so it would help to have their federal grant expanded.
Thank you for the opportunity to be District 29 State Representative. Keep communicating and hope to see you at the next District 29 Town Hall meeting on February 22nd.