Legislative Update

“If I cannot do great things, I can do small things in a great way.” Martin Luther King Jr.

The second week of the Second Year of the 66th Idaho Legislative Session is behind us and continues to move slowly, thoughtfully, and efficiently. Legislative Services has drafted 155 pieces of legislation compared to 225 at this time last year. 

This week, I met with a handful of teachers out of the Magic Valley. They shared their stories, passions, and vision for education. I appreciate each of you and thank you for stopping by. I also met with our water users out of Jerome, Gooding, Eden/Hazelton, and Twin Falls this week. They recognized retiring legislators for their commitment to preserving and protecting Idaho’s water. 

Additionally, the Idaho Forest Products Commission hosted lunch mid-week where we got a 30,000’ view of the challenges that growth and management have on our endowment lands. Idaho Department of Lands will request additional funding for firefighting efforts. Not to be left out, we also had a good visit with Idaho’s Soil and Water Conservation Commission/Districts and our Cities. Each of these conversations give our local communities, businesses, and constituents a chance to visit with us about policies or pending policies that may affect them. 

#StrongerRoots #StrongerFamilies #StrongerCommunities

Here is just a sample of what was introduced and/or heard this week:

Education

H0443 passed out of Judiciary and Rules and was sent to the Floor with a do pass. This legislation creates a dedicated fund for the purpose of funding the one-time amount required for public schools to buy into the state’s medical and dental group insurance plan. It establishes limits for the amount that can be allocated per school district, and how to handle situations in which the demand exceeds available funds. Creation of the Fund itself has no fiscal impact to the state. The legislature could, at its discretion, set aside an amount as part of the appropriations process to fund this account. No appropriation is expressly authorized in this bill. Sunsetting leadership premiums will eliminate $19,718,100 in General Fund spending in FY 2023. It should get heard on the Floor next week. Yet to be determined and next steps, what to do with retirees under current plans. 

Health and Welfare

H0446 amends the definitions of “marijuana” and “tetrahydrocannabinols” under the state’s Uniform Controlled Substance Act to exclude nabiximols in a drug product form approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Nabiximols is an oromucosal spray derived from marijuana and is being studied in multiple sclerosis (MS) and other neurological disorders. Nabiximols is currently undergoing the FDA approval process. Upon passage of this legislation, nabiximols will become available for prescription only after approval by the FDA and scheduling as a controlled substance by the federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Once approved by the FDA and scheduled by the DEA, nabiximols may be dispensed at a registered drug outlet upon receipt of a valid prescription of order from a licensed prescriber. Epidiolex is the only other THC drug to be FDA approved and included under the UCSA. 

Paid Family Leave

H0447 was introduced this week in Judiciary and Rules. It is a personal bill so was referred to Ways and Means. This legislation would provide paid family leave for all public and private employees in the State of Idaho. It would provide paid leave for up to two-thirds of an employee’s earnings for the following: 12 months paid parental leave that may be shared between two parents following a child’s birth or adoption; 3 months paid maternity leave for a birth or pregnancy; 3 months paid leave to provide care for a critically ill or injured family member who is an adult, or 6 months for a child; 6 months paid leave to provide end-of-life care for a family member. 

Tax Relief

The House passed what could be the largest income tax relief legislation in Idaho history. H0436 consolidates the personal income tax brackets from five brackets to four, from six last year, and lowers rates to 1%, 3%, 4.5% and 6%, lowers the corporate income tax to 6%, provides a one-time tax rebate of approximately 12% of 2020 personal income tax or $75 for each taxpayer and dependent. This legislation listed a good number of co-sponsors, including me. It passed the House and moves now to the Senate. 

Did You Know:

Idaho’s Constitution, Article VII, Section 11 requires balancing the state’s appropriations and expenditures with its revenues. 

My policy is not to sign pledges or agendas. It is not in the best interest of our constituency to sign them. While a slight handful may agree with these pledges and agendas, most do not. We represent 44,000—soon-to-be closer to 55,000- constituents, including businesses, agricultural industries, communities, local governments, county governments, veterans, schools/teachers, law enforcement, and many others. Additionally, a beholden pledge to a single entity or group is not healthy for our communities, our families, and Idaho’s future.  

All legislation requires an 18-36 plus one rule; we need 36 votes in the House, 18 in the Senate, AND a signature from the Governor for legislation to become law. Statement legislation is just that, a statement. Collaborative, cooperative, and civil conversations about solutions to Idaho’s challenges and how best to plan and invest in Idaho’s future will drive Idaho forward. It is an honor and a privilege to serve the good people of LD 25, and I look forward to seeing and hearing from you. 

Stronger Roots. Stronger Families. Stronger Communities.Please follow along on Facebook, Lickley for Idaho, Twitter @LLickleyforID, or Idaho’s Legislative Website for agendas, minutes, rules, and proposed legislation. www.legislature.idaho.gov

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