Serving those who Served Us
Week 13 and we remain in session. We are now down to a few policy issues and some housekeeping items before we can adjourn for the year. I won’t make any predictions about an end date so I don’t jinx us, my hope is that it won’t be long!
There is a lot of discussion about possible conditions for Medicaid expansion and a late transportation bill that has not been fully vetted. The Medicaid question we are debating between the House and the Senate continues to involve minimal work requirements and if it should be added at all to the Medicaid expansion eligibility. There are good arguments on both sides that aren’t all reported in the news.
What’s important to me is structuring and funding Medicaid expansion in a way that benefits the recipients in a fiscally responsible manner, meaning it will be financially sustainable by the state. While I like the idea of self sufficiency and bettering your lot in life, I’m not sure the estimated cost to enforce a work requirement of $2 to $3 million per year is worth the benefit.
When SB1204 as amended was presented on the Senate floor this week I gave it thoughtful consideration. At the end of the day I voted no on the bill due to the nearly $2 million annual cost to admistering a work requirement. My floor debate summed up my feelings on the issue, and I appreciate those who helped others make lemonade out of their lemons. I don’t view the $2 million cost of this work requirement to be worth its value. Simply put, the juice is not worth the squeeze.
I’d like to thank all of you who’ve sent me emails, cards or left me a voicemail expressing you thanks, words of encouragement or concerns about the important legislation. It remains a privilege to serve you. I would like to encourage you to log onto legislature.idaho.gov where you will find bills, committee recordings and live stream videos of our House and Senate floor sessions. I like hearing from you about important legislation, please continue to be involved so we can ensure good work is being completed by your legislature. Lastly, don't forget to connect with me on Facebook.
Idaho Vietnam Veterans honored at Capitol
National Vietnam War Veterans Day was celebrated on the front steps of the Capitol last week, and Governor Little spoke in honor of Idaho Vietnam Veterans, thanking them for their service to our country. As the 65th Idaho Legislature nears the end, a reoccurring theme this year has been recognizing and honoring our bravest heroes.
The event was organized by the Idaho Division of Veteran Services with the mission to serve Idaho’s veterans and their families. In addition, their goal is to provide excellent assistance with benefits and education, high quality long-term care, and respectful interment services in a dignified final resting place for our veterans.
Idaho Women 100 Launch Event
Last Thursday at the Idaho Capitol in the Lincoln Auditorium, the “Idaho Women 100 Launch Event” was held to honor Idaho women of the past and present. This program was organized by Idaho Women in Leadership and the Idaho State Historical Society. This launch looks forward to Idaho’s celebration of the 100th year anniversary of women in leadership, which will take place in August 2020. First Lady Teresa Little gave the opening remarks, commemorating Idaho women of the past century. In addition, a sneak peak at the upcoming “Idaho Women 100 Film Documentary” was shown. Here are some historical facts about women in Idaho:
In 1896, Idaho became the fourth state to grant women the right to vote, and Idaho was the first state to do so by constitutional amendment.
Idaho ranks 20th in the nation with a 30.5 percent female representation in the legislature.
This year, our state’s first female Lieutenant Governor, Janice McGeachin, took office.
Idaho is one of 20 states that has never elected a woman as Governor.
Only two women, Gracie Pfost (1953-1963) and Helen Chenoweth (1995-2001), have served in the U.S. House of Representatives from Idaho.
Agriculture mural project in the Capitol tunnel
A salute to Idaho agriculture is being created as a mural in the Capitol mall tunnel system. Discussions for the project began in 2018 which led to a 35-foot area designated to the agricultural mural. Local artist and art instructor at Parma High School, Linda McMillin, heads this project. There are 186 commodities grown in Idaho, and to commemorate Idaho’s abundance in produce, the one-word “Agriculture” is displayed in colorful strokes and images depicting the variety of food and farming Idaho has to offer. The mural is almost complete and an open house is planned for April of this year.
A special thanks to the following sponsors of this project: Idaho Agricultural FFA Organization; NW Agricultural Cooperative Council; Idaho Potato Commission; Leadership Idaho Agriculture; University of Idaho College of Agricultural and Life Sciences; Idaho Agriculture in the Classroom; Northwest Farm Credit Services; Idaho Farm Bureau; Clear Springs Foods; Idaho Onion Grower’s Association; and Idaho Sugarbeet Growers Association.