To the Governor's Desk - Week 11 in Session
The first week of the 2019 Legislative session is now in the books. The week started with Governor Brad Little’s State of the State address. He spoke about Idaho's strength in the economy and nation. He also set out a number of his priorities, including education funding and honoring the people’s will with Medicaid expansion.
Governor Little recognizes we may have a timing problem when we look at collection of individual income taxes. The state is rapidly approaching a $100 million deficit in individual income tax collections when compared to projections. This issue is caused by an under withholding of individual tax payers’ income due to a change in the tax tables. Some estimate we may fall upwards of $200 million behind before the timing issue corrects itself by the end of our fiscal year in July. However, the experts are confident this timing issue will be resolved even amidst the added degree of difficulty to the budgeting process.
I look forward to keeping you informed with highlights taking place in the Idaho Capitol during our legislative session.
Below are some recent activities. I hope you will enjoy the information. For more details, you can log onto legislature.idaho.gov where you will find bills, committee recordings and live stream videos of our House and Senate floor sessions. I look forward to your involvement.
Senator Jeff Agenbroad
District 13 Constituents,
Week number 11 is now in the books and Sine Die is expected on Wednesday, March 28th. Earlier this year an Idaho Supreme Court ruled we must stay in session until all bills are delivered to the Governor prior to our adjournment. For the most part the legislature has completed its work for the 2018 session, with the exception of delivering all bills to the Governor’s desk. Rather than sitting idly waiting for the paperwork to be done, we will hold interim committee and other meetings until we close the session.
This past week two pieces of legislation received considerable attention. The first was the Superintendent of Public Education’s budget. The House defeated the budget on the floor due to its omission of funding for a pilot program reading indicator for children K through 3rd grade. This is a needed program and I am happy to see and support the restored funding and expansion of this program. The other piece of legislation that received considerable discussion was a private property bill. This is legislation that began prior to the session, was re-written multiple times and finally in a form that would pass both the House and the Senate.
Countless hours were spent on this legislation to clean up conflicting language in our existing laws and address the concerns of property owners, law enforcement and Idaho’s citizens. The bill is lengthy and complicated. Unfortunately, many stakeholders were not included in its early drafting causing contention between stakeholders requiring multiple revisions to the bill to address stakeholder concerns. I’m confident this bill would have been a better bill, finished in a more timely manner, and with less contention if all stakeholders were involved from the beginning. We can do better.
The budgets recommended by JFAC recommended continued to make their way to both the full Senate and House for approval. This week I was the Senate floor sponsor of eight budgets which all passed the Senate and the House. We have now completed our Constitutional requirement to set a balanced budget for the State of Idaho.
Please contact me if I can be of assistance. I hope you continue to find this weekly update useful to stay informed about the happenings at your State Capitol. If you know others who would like to receive this weekly email, please forward their request to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. This weekly update is also available on my Facebook page, Senator Jeff Agenbroad.
Senator Jeff Agenbroad