Statehouse Update 3-1-19


Idaho Council on Federal Lands

New legislation would create a legislative council to help Idaho deal with federal lands issues. The Idaho Council on Federal Lands would be comprised of four members from the House and four from the Senate.

“The Federal Government manages 63% of the land in our beautiful state, so the creation of this committee is well past due,” said co-sponsor Rep. Judy Boyle. “The group will focus on working with federal and state agencies to solve problems we see every day involving Idaho citizens.”

The committee will work in cooperation with the Governor and will report regularly to the Legislature. It would build on the successful state and federal collaboration seen in the Good Neighbor Authority. The GNA allows the Forest Service to partner with the Idaho Department of Lands on management goals for federal land in Idaho.

“We’ve already seen how the GNA reduces fuels, keeps communities safer from wildfires, improves watersheds, creates jobs, and preserves more Idaho timber,” said Sen. Chuck Winder. “This Council will continue that success in improving Idaho’s economy, our natural resources, and our breathtaking wild spaces.”

On February 26, H162 passed the House with a vote of 55-15. It is now before the Senate for consideration.


Click here, if you’re looking for more information on the bill…


JFAC Sets Budgets

HIGHER EDUCATION – JFAC voted unanimously (19-0) to give Idaho’s four-year colleges and universities a 3.5 percent funding increase next year. The proposed higher ed budget would include $306 million in state general funds and $604.3 million in total funds.
SUICIDE PREVENTION – JFAC also approved a $200,000 increase in funding for state suicide prevention efforts next year. That amounts to a 20 percent increase in state funding for suicide prevention.


Idaho Wolf Depredation Board

Governor Brad Little signed SB1039 into law. Rep. Laurie Lickley sponsored the bill on the House floor. It makes the Idaho Wolf Depredation Control Board permanent. The Board directs and manages funds for wolf depredation control in Idaho and was originally scheduled to sunset in June of 2020.

“This law protects Idaho’s rural communities, ranchers, farmers, and sportsmen,” said Rep. Lickley, “and is a long-term solution with a three-way partnership between livestock owners, sportsmen, and the Idaho legislature. Idaho is further ahead than our neighboring states but still has a lot of work to do.”

Wildlife Services has conducted 207 depredation investigations for 115 ranchers in 16 counties in this fiscal year. The take on Idaho wolves by hunters and trappers has leveled out in recent years to about 300 annually. Idaho’s Fish and Game issued over 40,000 permits and extended the season last year.
The bill sailed through the House on a vote of 51-19 last week. It passed the Senate two weeks before that.


Here’s a link to the Post Register story on the bill signing…



Taking the Chair

Wednesday was the first time our Assistant Majority Leader Rep. Jason A. Monks took the chair of the Committee of the Whole to discuss bill amendments.



Doing More for Trade School Students

We can help a lot more Idaho Students advance their education, and close the skills gap at the same time. House Bill 198 would allow Idaho high schoolers to use their advanced opportunities state allowance after graduation (for up to three years) to attend trade school. We need more students furthering their education after high school. This would help them do that, and prepare them for Idaho jobs in dire need of skilled workers.


Giving Teachers a Raise

The House easily passed a bill to boost starting teachers’ pay to $40,000 over the next two years. The vote was 61-9 on Tuesday. The bill would increase the pay of teachers on the lowest three rungs of the state’s teacher pay scale. This will help recruit more teachers and keep older teachers from leaving the profession or the state.

“It’s an important bill,” said Rep. Gary Marshall, a former teacher who carried the bill on the House floor.



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