Statehouse Update 3-22-2019

Senate Unanimously Approves Chaney’s Algorithm Bill

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On Monday, the Senate approved H118 33-0 (with 2 absent). Special thanks to Sen. Patti Ann Lodge for carrying the bill on the Senate floor.

The bill will receive one more vote in the House early next week (due to some minor, technical Senate amendments).  The House already approved the bill 66-2 earlier this month.

Saving Tax Dollars On Medicaid Expansion

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We are one step closer to saving millions in taxpayer dollars with the passage of House Bill 277 on Thursday. We had a robust debate on the House floor, after those of us in the Health and Welfare Committee heard from so many Idahoans over the past weeks. The bill creates a fiscally responsible plan that’s directed at complete population health. HB 277 saves on the costs related to Medicaid expansion by focusing on patient-centered managed care.

House Bill 277:
– Allows flexibility in enrollment to make sure Idahoans who need care can get it through Medicaid or the state health insurance exchange
– Addresses substance abuse treatment and mental health coverage
– Allows the state to opt out of Medicaid, if the Federal Government doesn’t pay their fair share of 90 percent

“It was exciting to have an actual debate on this legislation,” said Majority Caucus Chair Rep. Megan Blanksma. “We made adjustments to the original proposal to address people’s concerns, while still maintaining our conservative principals. I would now ask the Senate to support this bill, to ensure we have an Idaho way forward on Medicaid expansion.”

Idaho Teachers Get Raise

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Idaho’s teachers are getting a raise, thanks to Governor Brad Little signing House Bill 153 into law on Wednesday. The bill, sponsored on the House floor by Rep. Gary Marshall, will increase Idaho’s minimum teacher salary to $40,000 in 2020-21.

“This bill is part of my overarching goal making sure our kids in Idaho stay in Idaho,” Governor Little said. “We’ve got a long ways to go, but this is a good start.”

Idaho’s current minimum teacher salary – $35,800
Idaho’s minimum teacher salary next year – $38,500
Idaho’s minimum teacher salary by 2020 – $40,000

Little also included funding to increase pay within the second and third years so teacher pay won’t decrease after their first year.
*Photo courtesy of Governor Little’s office

Getting Kids Reading Earlier

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Governor Little signed a group of appropriation bills on Tuesday, including House Bill 222, which doubles funding for Idaho literacy programs. It will increase student reading skills by third grade and gives more funding for various school districts.
*Photo courtesy of Governor Little’s office
Click here to see KIVI’s story on how House Bill 222 is already helping kids and parents in Nampa… https://www.kivitv.com/news/nampa-school-district-offering-free-all-day-every-day-kindergarten

A Unique Solution To A Unique Problem

A bill that will make dental care more accessible to Idaho’s Tribes passed the House Tuesday. Rep. Bryan Zollinger, who co-sponsored the bill, says the legislation will create a program to let trained dental therapists work on reservations, where there is a lack of dental care.

Another supporter is Rep. John Green, who said, “This is a unique solution to a unique problem to a unique demographic.”

The bill is now headed to the Governor’s desk.

Idaho Invention Convention

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The state’s finest young inventors put their incredible gadgets on display at the Statehouse on Monday, as part of the Idaho Invention Convention. The students are participants in the Invent Idaho Today program, which teaches 1st through 8th graders the inventive thinking process through STEM education. These students will take part in the Invent Idaho State Finals and the National Invention Convention and Entrepreneurship Expo in May.
*Photo courtesy of the Idaho State Department of Education
Click here to see KTVB’s story on these incredible young students and their inventions… https://www.ktvb.com/article/news/education/idaho-students-show-off-their-inventions-at-the-statehouse/277-2d251947-1c93-49d0-9ba9-f82b2ac39a96

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