Legislature seeks judgment confirming legislative control of Capitol space.
Speaker of the Idaho House Scott Bedke and President Pro Tem of the Senate Brent Hill are seeking a District Court’s declaratory judgment, as they work to compel the State Treasurer, Julie Ellsworth, to follow state law regarding statehouse office space.
Idaho Code section 67-1602(3) defines use and control of Capitol space and the attached letter from 2007 legislative leadership President Pro Tem Robert Geddes and House Speaker Lawerence Denney further explains the history. By law, the Executive Branch only controls the second floor of the Capitol. The use of floor space on the garden, first, third and fourth levels is determined by the Legislative Branch. Treasurer Ellsworth is currently occupying space on the first floor.
“We didn’t want it to come to this, but the Treasurer is refusing to acknowledge the law,” said Bedke. “More than a decade ago Idaho law determined legislative control of certain levels in the Capitol because of our increasing need for space. Our elected officials need space that will allow them to conduct constituent meetings with the assurance of privacy, as well as performing required legislative duties.”
Bedke and Hill, without any obligation to do so, offered the Treasurer an opportunity to retain the traditional office and office space for certain personnel. Again, the Treasurer refused.
“This needs to be resolved, “said Speaker Bedke. “We have confidence the District Court will see the state law for what is and declare that we have the right to our space.”
Statement by Treasurer Ellsworth. House Speaker Scott Bedke and Pro Tempore Brent Hill in their official capacity are suing Julie Ellsworth in her official capacity as the Treasurer of the State of Idaho. This action comes on the heels of multiple failed attempts during this year’s Legislative Session to appropriate millions of taxpayer dollars for the construction of new offices for legislators and staff.
“I have always opposed this move and I am shocked at the continued wasteful use of taxpayer dollars to build new legislative offices that will be used for just three months of the year,” said Ellsworth. “This is not a friendly lawsuit and I plan to vigorously defend the taxpayers of Idaho and combat this frivolous use of their dollars.”
The Idaho State Treasurer is a creation of the Idaho constitution and has been in the same location in the Capitol for over a hundred years. The office is a working office that serves state agencies and the public on a daily basis. The Treasurer and her office have acted in good faith and tried to offer up alternatives that would accommodate the Legislature and the public including a proposal utilizing shared space. Her offer was met with this lawsuit.
Public testimony on Medicaid expansion will be heard inBoise, Lewiston. Public testimony on the first of several Medicaid Expansion Restrictions is being taken by the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare this week. The first restriction calls on the State of Idaho to seek a “waiver” from the federal government to allow people earning between 100-138% of the Federal Poverty Level to stay on subsidized healthcare plans even though they qualify for Medicaid Expansion. This could impact up to 10,000 Idahoans who may end up in a second “gap.” These are people who would otherwise qualify for Medicaid Expansion but end up without healthcare coverage.
Public testimony will be taken in two locations this week.
Boise: June 24, 2019 @ 2:00pm (Mountain), Department of Health & Welfare, Westgate Office, Room 131, 1720 Westgate Drive, Boise, ID 83704
Lewiston: June 27, 2019 @ 10:00am (Pacific), Department of Health & Welfare, Lewiston Office, Third Floor Conference Room, 1118 F Street, Lewiston, ID 83501
Reclaim Idaho is the nonpartisan, volunteer organization responsible for getting Medicaid Expansion on the November 2018 ballot. The measure passed with 61% of the statewide vote. In addition to providing healthcare access to tens of thousands of Idahoans, Medicaid Expansion is expected to bring back $400 million in federal funds to Idaho, shore up Idaho’s rural hospitals, and create thousands of jobs around the state.
Idaho administrative rules republished. The Idaho administrative rules identified for reauthorization were published in the Idaho Administrative Bulletin today at https://adminrules.idaho.gov/bulletin/2019/06SE.pdf.
Under the Idaho Administrative Procedures Act, all administrative rules automatically sunset on July 1 unless extended by the Idaho Legislature. The Legislature traditionally passes a “going-home” bill that extends all administrative rules until July 1 of the subsequent year. This is the first year the Legislature did not pass the “going-home” bill. As a result, all rules are scheduled to expire on July 1, 2019.
Governor Little tasked his administration with reauthorizing necessary rules as “temporary and proposed” rules prior to July 1 so there is no negative impact on public health, safety, and welfare. The public can provide comments on reauthorized rules as outlined in each docket published in the bulletin.
Governor Little viewed the situation as an opportunity to reset Idaho’s regulations. Since April, state agencies hosted more than 40 public meetings to identify which rules to reauthorize or allow to expire. The Division of Financial Management publicly posted the list of rules identified for expiration and solicited public input. Nearly all public comments received suggested additional rules to cut.
Agencies mobilized quickly because they already had begun a rules-review process to comply with Governor Little’s executive order establishing the Red Tape Reduction Act, which he issued during his first few weeks in office.
Governor Brad Little’s schedule this week
MONDAY, June 24, 2019
Governor Little will sign a proclamation for Census Day in the Governor’s Ceremonial Office at 1:30 p.m.
TUESDAY, June 25, 2019
Governor Little will attend Caribou County Ag Appreciation Day at the Soda Springs City Park at 3:30 p.m.
WEDNESDAY, June 26, 2019
Governor Little will host Capital for a Day at the American Falls District Library at 10 a.m.
Governor Little will attend the Treasure Valley God and Country Family Festival at the Ford Idaho Centre Amphitheater at 6:30 p.m.
THURSDAY, June 27, 2019
Governor Little will present a proclamation for School Bus Safety Year at the Idaho Association of Pupil Transportation State Department of Education conference at the Boise Centre at 10 a.m.
Governor Little will deliver the keynote address at the Idaho Hospital Association’s annual summer meeting at the McCall Shore Lodge at 12:30 p.m.
FRIDAY, June 28, 2019
Governor Little will deliver the opening remarks at the first meeting of the Salmon Workgroup at the Idaho State Museum at 8:30 a.m.