Governor signs bill increasing starting teacher pay, highlights progress on education priorities. Gov. Brad Little has signed into law House Bill 153, increasing starting teacher pay to $40,000 per year.

The bill passed the Idaho Legislature with overwhelming support. It fulfills one of his key campaign promises and one of the priorities he laid out in his first State of the State speech in January.

“By increasing starting teacher pay, we are sending a clear signal to our teachers and those considering a career in education that we appreciate and value them,” Little said. “Teachers who are just starting their careers should be compensated fairly and competitively so they can remain here to educate the next generation of Idahoans.”

 

Little also highlighted progress on some of his other key education initiatives during the bill signing ceremony.

He signed House Bill 220, implementing the fifth year of the “career ladder” to increase salaries for all teachers.

He also signed House Bill 222, doubling funding for literacy programs in Idaho. The bill also increases funding in the popular Advanced Opportunity program, saving Idaho families in tuition costs and encouraging students to go-on to the postsecondary education opportunities that best suit them.

“Parents, teachers, legislators, and stakeholder groups all played a part in moving forward these important measures,” Little said. “Idaho’s youngest citizens benefit the most when we work together to raise up our teachers and open up more resources for learning.”

Rubel’s Solar Panel Bill Signed Into Law. Rep. Ilana Rubel’s Solar Panel bill has been signed into law by Gov. Brad Little. This legislation protects solar panel homeowners from outdated installation restrictions. Currently, the Homeowners’ Associations (HOAs) restrict solar panel use for reasons such as being too ugly or obtrusive.

Rep. Rubel noted the old law ignored important innovations that now make solar panels almost undetectable. “This law was a barrier for Idahoans who wanted to be energy independent,” Rep. Rubel said. “If we protect our solar panel users, then we encourage environmentally-friendly practices and renewable energy in Idaho.”

Throughout the months leading up to this bill signing, Rubel worked closely with HOAs to ensure the new law aligned with homeowners’ rights. She emphasized the importance of  property rights in Idaho law.

“Every Idaho homeowner deserves the right to make choices about his or her energy consumption. When you own a home, you should reserve the right to make the calls about what you do with it,” she said. “The HOAs and I are excited to pass this piece of legislation that restores Idahoans’ rights to energy independence. With this new law, Idaho takes another progressive leap forward in clean energy solutions.”

 

Wintrow’s Test All Bill Signed into Law. Rep. Wintrow’s Test All Kits bill was signed into law by Gov. Brad Little. H116 requires that Idaho tests all sexual assault evidence kits with only rare exceptions. The legislation ensures that more DNA evidence would legally be placed in the CODIS system in efforts to identify perpetrators, in particular, repeat offenders to increase public safety.

“H116 was passed with overwhelming support in both the House and Senate,” Wintrow said. “These are proactive efforts to stop serial offenders and seek justice for survivors. The legislation treats survivors with respect and compassion after they have just endured a traumatic event.  If we are going to ask a victim to endure a long invasive process to collect evidence of a crime, then we should be testing the evidence and not let it collect dust on shelves.”

Rep. Wintrow explained that this bill is the culmination of 4 years of work with the ISAKI (Idaho Sexual Assault Kit Initiative) working group which includes law enforcement, prosecutors, medical professionals, and advocacy groups. They began in 2016 and established minimum standards for testing, processing, and tracking sexual assault evidence kits, which led to a first of its kind tracking system that is being copied in over 23 states. In 2017, they passed legislation to create exemplary standards for preserving sexual assault kit evidence. In 2018, they ensured victims would no longer pay for the medical forensic exam, which was the only crime requiring victims or insurance to cover the costs of criminal justice procedures.

Gannon Introduces Vape Tax Legislation. “Vaping has become an epidemic for our youth. This legislation is being brought to raise awareness of the issue,” said Rep. John Gannon. “In my district, schools have had increases in incidents involving students vaping. I am very concerned about how that impacts the health of the young people in my district and all over the state. There needs to be education and outreach to curb their use.”

The legislation that would put a 15% retail tax on vape sales in Idaho. The bill was printed with a 10-2 vote and is designed to start the discussion.  Gannon’s bill provides that the tax proceeds will go to the Millennium Fund to be used for vaping education and outreach projects. It is co-sponsored by Rep. Greg Chaney. Because e-cigarette sellers are not licensed, there is little information about the amount of their sales so it is not known how much money would be raised.   

Gov. Brad Little’s Schedule This Week      

MONDAY, March 25, 2019     

Governor Little will sign SB 1078, a bill to allow a craft brew facility in Idaho to contract with other entities wishing to brew at their facility, in the Governor’s Ceremonial Office at 9 a.m.

Governor Little will hold a signing ceremony for HB 89, a bill designating a portion of Highway 20 as the Idaho Medal of Honor Highway, in the Governor’s Ceremonial Office at 10 a.m.         

WEDNESDAY, March 27, 2019

Governor Little will sign HB 106, a bill to amend Idaho's "Slow Down, Move Over" law to extend emergency vehicle safety provisions, in the Governor’s Ceremonial Office at 1 p.m.

THURSDAY, March 28, 2019

First Lady Teresa Little makes opening remarks at the kickoff event for Idaho Women 100, a commemoration and celebration of the national centennial anniversary of the women’s right to vote, happening in 2020, in the Lincoln Auditorium in the Capitol at 1 p.m.

FRIDAY, March 29, 2019

Governor Little will issue a proclamation for Month of the Military Child in the Governor’s Ceremonial Office at 11 a.m.

Governor Little will speak at Vietnam Veterans Recognition Day on the Capitol steps at 12 p.m.