Working to Cut the Red Tape on Licensing
One of the state’s largest budgets to manage is the Idaho Department of Corrections (IDOC) and as we, the members of JFAC, wrap up week five of the legislative session. We are now left with the task of figuring out the best way to allocate our resources to this system. Unfortunately, prisons are growing at a pace that rivals our state’s population growth. Our recidivism rate is mind boggling with repeat offenders making up nearly 75 percent of the prison population. We need to continue to develop programs that reduce repeat offenders while maintaining our top priority - that is, safety for us all.
IDOC recognizes the need to improve prison programs to get better results as inmates integrate back into society. We have made some incredible advances over the past several years. We need to continue to modernize our prison management. We can’t manage like we did decades ago, we have learned that only creates an “older and angrier” population, which is not beneficial for anyone.
I would like to applaud Governor Little on his two executive orders. The Red Tape Reduction Act requires state agencies to eliminate or significantly simplify two rules for every new one that is proposed. The Licensing Freedom Act of 2019 puts in place sunrise and sunset processes for future occupational licensing laws. These executive orders work in tandem to significantly reduce unwarranted regulation and government overreach by allowing Idahoans with occupational licenses the ability to work without a litany of unnecessary burdens. This is good for all Idahoans.
On a much lighter note, one of the highlights this week was seeing the original Idaho Constitution! The Idaho Historical Society graciously brought the document into the JFAC hearing room for us to see. Our Constitution was appropriately opened to the page that requires Idaho to balance its budget each year. Many of us wish the U.S. Constitution had a similar balanced budget article.
I am proud of the work being done this year by the legislative branch. Below are some recent activities and highlights taking place in the Idaho Capitol. I hope you 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.
Lastly, don't forget to connect with me on Facebook.
This week, Idaho lawmakers introduced a resolution to honor and commemorate the American Legion’s upcoming 100th year anniversary. The American Legion is the largest Veteran’s Service Organization in the United States with over 2 million members. With over 12,000 American Legion posts in the nation, 99 of those posts are in Idaho, totaling around 10,000 members.
This resolution specifically commemorates Idaho’s 99 American Legion posts and its members throughout the state. In addition to advocating patriotism and promoting strong national security, the American Legion is committed to mentoring youth and sponsoring of programs, such as American Legion Baseball, Boys and Girls State, and the American Legion National High School Oratorical Program.
In 1919, the American Legion was chartered and incorporated by Congress as a patriotic veterans’ organization. That same year, Idaho was granted a temporary charter. The primary purpose of the American Legion was to help veterans after their discharge from military service. In 1944, under the encouragement and support of the American Legion, President Roosevelt signed the G.I. Bill into law, enabling millions of Americans to attain higher education.
One of the highlights of the year is the Alliance’s annual "Chamber Days at the Legislature" conference held in Boise. Members of the Idaho Chamber Alliance (ICA) visited the Idaho Legislature this week. The ICA was formed in 2006 with the goal of creating a unified voice for chambers of commerce across the state. During each legislative session, members of the Alliance also participate in weekly conference calls with legislators to discuss important legislative issues affecting a variety of Idaho businesses and organizations.
At the conference, Governor Brad Little, President Pro Tempore, Brent Hill of the Senate, and Speaker of the House, Scott Bedke, spoke on their perspectives regarding current topics and upcoming legislative issues in Idaho. During the conference, the Alliance offered professional training for staff as well as scholarship opportunities for the Northwest Chamber Leaders Conference and the U.S. Chamber Institute Program.
The Idaho Historical Society brought the original Idaho Constitution to the Capitol on Tuesday, February 5th.
Displayed in a protective, glass case, this historical document was presented in the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee (JFAC) as well as on the House and Senate floors. As the governing document of the state, the Idaho Constitution was adopted on August 6, 1889 by an Idaho constitutional convention. The document was then ratified by a statewide vote in November 1889 after which the Idaho Constitution was approved by the United States Congress on July 3, 1890 when Idaho joined the union as the 43rd state.
Idaho Legislators met with the Idaho Cattle Association (ICA) this week at the Capitol rotunda to discuss and support Idaho’s growing beef industry—the second largest agricultural sector in the state. Significantly, five past ICA Presidents now serve in the Idaho Legislature. Governor Little’s brother and sister also served as ICA Presidents.
The Idaho Cattle Association is Idaho’s grassroots policy development organization for this important sector of Idaho’s economy and the official voice for the state’s beef industry, including seedstock breeders, commercial operators, and cattle feeders. The mission of the Idaho Cattle Association is to advance and coordinate the economic progress and well-being of the Idaho beef industry. The Idaho Cattle Association is a non-profit trade association comprised of more than 1,000 members and represents over 6,000 cattle producing families across the state.