Some of the public events on Gov. Brad Little’s calendar for the week of April 15-19:
MONDAY, April 15, 2019
Governor Little will speak at the Mountain Home Chamber of Commerce luncheon at the Mountain Home Hampton Inn at 12 p.m.
TUESDAY, April 16, 2019
Governor Little will attend the Land Board meeting in the Boise City Council Chambers at 9 a.m.
Governor Little will attend the Constitutional Defense Council Meeting in the Attorney General’s conference room C205 at 1:30 p.m.
WEDNESDAY, April 17, 2019
Governor Little will speak at the Idaho Economic Development Association’s spring conference at the Downtown Boise Hilton Garden Inn at 12 p.m.
Governor Little will hold a press conference to commemorate 100 Days of Achievement in the Governor’s Ceremonial Office at 1 p.m.
FRIDAY, April 19, 2019
Governor Little will attend the groundbreaking for the Schweitzer Career & Technical Education Center at Lewis-Clark State College at 10 a.m.
Idaho State Legislature Comes to an End
For Immediate Release, April 11, 2019--------------------------------------------------------------
Idaho State Capitol – On Thursday, the Idaho State Legislature closed their session with a unanimous vote to “sine die.” Shortly after, House and Senate Democrats held a press conference to reflect on the last several months of legislating. Representative Ilana Rubel/(D-Boise) and Senator Maryanne Jordan/(D-Boise) highlighted the successes and disappointments from the session. Representative Jake Ellis/(D-Boise) echoed the sentiments of the speech.
“We owe much of our success this session to hardworking Idahoans. Citizens from all over the state came to the Capitol over and over again to testify against discriminatory, wasteful legislation. They put the security of their families in jeopardy by missing days on the job to remind the Majority that they are accountable to the citizens.
“We are deeply disappointed that it was necessary for Idahoans to constantly come to the Capitol to defend the rights of their families, friends, and neighbors. It is absolutely disgraceful that several legislators hoped to sneak through harmful bills without the public noticing. But, every time, the citizens were there.
“The citizens have shown that they are willing to go to amazing lengths to be a voice for Idaho families. I cannot begin to express my appreciation for the voters who sacrificed so much to protect their rights of their fellow Idahoans. Legislators can expect to be held to a much higher scrutiny by their constituents next session.”
Senator Maryanne Jordan/(D-Boise)
Senate Minority Caucus Chair
Thank you all for coming.
I sincerely wish that we were all gathering today solely to celebrate the accomplishments of the year, but I think we all know that’s not the whole story.
We leave this session extremely frustrated with the way things have been run, but also proud of our efforts to represent Idahoans; to listen to their voices. We have watched for weeks now how deadlines have been ignored, process not followed, and the public shut out of the development of legislation. We are three weeks past the estimated sine die date. Each of those days has cost the taxpayers the equivalent of a yearly teacher’s salary. So we stand before you today frustrated by this, knowing that Idahoans deserve better. We also stand here proud of the accomplishments of our caucus.
The Democratic Caucus has worked extremely hard this year to pass legislation that will make real changes for Idaho families. We did our research, consulted voters, followed the rules, and submitted our work under the correct guidelines.
Representative Erpelding started the conversation about the importance of addressing mental health concerns by passing legislation that requires workers compensation to cover post-traumatic stress injuries. Now our firefighters, EMT, and police can get the treatment they desperately need and deserve when they endure traumatic events during their service to our state. He also passed legislation that will protect Idaho workers from wage theft. Hardworking Idahoans will have a way to guarantee that they get the paycheck that they have earned.
Representative Sue Chew passed law that modifies the existing Legend Drug Donation Act to allow individuals to donate unused drugs. This law will help the most vulnerable Idahoans get access to potentially life-saving medications that they would otherwise be unable to afford.
Senator Grant Burgoyne introduced draft legislation that would provide tuition assistance for community college and other postsecondary training. He is now consulted with teachers, state agencies, and the public to create the best legislation to make education more accessible in Idaho.
Representatives Ilana Rubel and Rob Mason held the first official climate change hearing in committee. This informational hearing gave legislators the ability to hear the opportunities and challenges that climate change presents in Idaho.
Representative Rubel also passed Homeowner Solar Rights legislation, removing unreasonable restrictions on solar panel installation and protecting homeowners’ ability to utilize the clean energy available on their own roofs. This was an important step in increasing property rights and advancing clean energy in Idaho by allowing property owners to make their own decisions about their energy consumption.
Representative Melissa Wintrow continued her ongoing work with sexual assault by passing her bill that would require all sexual assaults to be tested with very few exceptions. This will give sexual assault survivors more tools when they are already in vulnerable positions. It will also ensure that more serial rapists are held accountable for their actions.
Senator Stennett passed legislation through the Senate that bans the use of exploding targets during the driest season in Idaho. After so many fires were started last summer because of exploding targets, it became clear to her that action had to be taken to protect Idaho from further damage. Shockingly this did not pass the house. I introduced legislation to lift the cap on the homeowner’s exemption to give homeowners tax relief and also a bill to Add the Words sexual orientation and gender identity to the Idaho Human Rights Act. These issues important to so many Idahoans were not even given hearings. These are all issues that must continue to be addressed.
When I look at this body of work, I am astonished. While Democrats may hold a superminority of seats in this Legislature, we have driven a disproportionate volume of the legislation that actually helps Idahoans. We have constantly advocated for an open process and the public’s right to participate in its government. Against all odds, Democrats can leave the session proud of the great work we have done on behalf of the people of Idaho.
Representative Ilana Rubel/(D-Boise)
House Assistant Minority Leader
It’s important that we celebrate our positive achievements of the session, but we also must reflect on the less positive aspects of this session in the hopes that the public can be better served in the future. I cannot remember a session that did more damage to the faith of people in their government, or that was so consistently marked by the Republican Majority’s total disregard for the will of the people of Idaho. As tired as we legislators are at the end of this long session, the people of Idaho need a break far more than we do. Our citizens have had to spend endless hours in this building nearly every day of this session, in committee hearing after committee hearing, begging the Republicans in this building not to strip their rights and undercut their will. Regardless how many times our citizens filled and overflowed committee rooms, and despite the passion of their testimony, our citizens were systematically ignored, as the Republican majority cast them aside in favor of special interests.
Last year, a grassroots movement of Idaho citizens pulled off one of the most amazing feats in Idaho political history. After the legislature dropped the ball for 7 years on Medicaid Expansion, our citizens stepped up. They sacrificed paying jobs, weekends relaxing at home, and dinners with their families to knock on hundreds of thousands of doors to get Medicaid Expansion on the ballot. Last November, the people spoke loud and clear, when 61% of voters chose clean Medicaid Expansion implementation in Proposition 2.
But somehow, their voices did not get through to most Republican legislators in this building, who spent the session relentlessly introducing bills, again and again, to repeal or dramatically undermine Medicaid expansion. Every time, citizens came out in droves to beg for Proposition 2 to be implemented, but the GOP majority would not listen, and ended up passing probably the worst Medicaid restrictions bill of all – a bill that spends millions of dollars to hire a squadron of bureaucrats to hunt down the poorest people in the state and strip them of Medicaid coverage if they don’t have documentation to prove their work hours. Previous versions at least had a work training requirement to help people get jobs, but the version the Republicans passed deleted that out. It merely punishes the unemployed by removing health insurance, with no training to help them meet the work requirements. Every Democrat opposed this bill, which ended up as just a slap in the face to voters and to the poor, not the helping hand up that was promised.
But the undermining of Medicaid expansion was just the first salvo in the GOP’s assault on Idaho voters. It wasn’t enough to merely overturn the most recent ballot initiative – they wanted to be sure the voters could never bring another ballot initiative. Long after the deadline for introducing new bills, our GOP colleagues introduced SB1159 – known as the Revenge on Voters Act - that effectively stripped Idaho voters entirely of their ability to bring ballot initiatives. Once again, hundreds of people showed up to testify against this egregious assault on voters’ Constitutional rights. And again, the GOP supermajority ignored the voices of Idahoans completely, and ignored the Democratic legislators fighting tirelessly to protect ballot initiative rights.
Both the substance and the process surrounding the Revenge on Voters Act confirmed citizens’ worst fears about their government – legislation aimed at silencing voters’ voices was hatched in secret meetings between corporate lobbyists and GOP legislators, hearings were arranged by GOP leaders without adequate public notice, and public testimony was cut off or in some cases bypassed entirely by GOP committee chairs. 58 citizens testified against the bill, but it was the two lobbyists testifying in favor that carried the day. We are deeply thankful for the many Idaho citizens who persisted - kept coming day after day. While the GOP majority in the legislature didn’t listen, we in the Democratic caucus heard you, and so did the Governor, who issued a critically important veto after over 11,000 Idahoans reached out to him. If not for heroic citizen activism this session, Idaho would be facing costly litigation and the possible loss of precious constitutional ballot initiative rights. I hope the Republican supermajority learned this session that they could serve the state better by working across the aisle and listening more to citizens. They do not serve the state when they abuse their supermajority power by ramming special interest agendas down our throats. I hope we never see another session that is so marked by secrecy, backroom deals and disregard of the people’s wishes.
And today was really the cherry on top. After spending the first month of session hearing rules proposed by the Executive branch, the majority party is now having us leave town without actually approving those rules. This is one of our most basic legislative jobs, and Democrats are prepared to approve those rules. The Republican majority, however, will not allow such a vote, throwing away thousands of hours of work and marking a new level of dysfunction that will be very costly to taxpayers. We are leaving on one final failure of governance by the majority party.
Like Senator Jordan, I am deeply proud of what our Democratic caucus was able to achieve this session against all odds. But as proud as I am of our caucus, I am even more proud of what the people of Idaho achieved. To our citizens, I say keep coming to the Capitol. Keep filling committee rooms, and make your voices heard. Your participation in your democracy got us at least partial, albeit inadequate Medicaid expansion. You saved lives and you saved our Constitutional ballot initiative rights. We, the Democratic caucus, stand with you, and will continue fighting to provide the responsive government that you deserve.