Our Kids, Idaho’s Future Task Force submits recommendations to Legislature. The “Our Kids, Idaho’s Future” K-12 task force recently held its final meeting before the 2020 legislative session. The committee met to vote on which educational reform recommendations will be sent to Gov. Little.

The recommendations that were approved after a majority voice vote were:

  • Optional state-funded, all-day kindergarten across Idaho
  • Increasing the salary of our highly-skilled, master teachers through the career ladder to $60,000
  • Creating training and resources to help students with social and emotional challenges (for example, trauma or mental illness) 
  • Developing a statewide accountability plan that addresses K-3 reading scores, measured by the Idaho Reading Indicator (IRI) 
  • Allowing budget flexibility by “collapsing” some budget line items so that the money may be put into discretionary spending allowing school officials to make decisions on how they spend state funding

The Democratic legislators on the Our Kids, Idaho’s Future task force expressed their enthusiasm for the final product that was produced by the group.

“Idaho Democrats have been committed to improving our educational system for decades.” House Minority Leader Mat Erpelding (D-Boise) said. “We worked hard on this task force to honor former Gov. Cecil Andrus’ legacy by continuing his belief that every child deserves the highest quality kindergarten program. We finally have a chance to correctly and appropriately invest in Idaho’s K-12 system and in our teachers. We are proud to work in a bipartisan way to advance the values that every Idahoan shares.”

“Our students, teachers, and Idaho’s businesses desperately need a first-class, quality education system for all Idahoans regardless of their zip code,” said Sen. Janie Ward-Engelking (D-Boise). “The recommendations that were submitted to the governor would be an impactful step in the right direction if they are implemented by the state.”

Statement on Medicaid expansion costs. Members of the Idaho House Republican Caucus recentlty took part in a meeting of the Committee on the Equitable Assessment of Costs Related to Medicaid Expansion.

“This is a critical time for Idahoans on Medicaid, as open enrollment has begun, said committee member and Majority Caucus Chair Rep. Megan Blanksma. “Today, we made recommendations on funding Medicaid expansion, none of which involve new taxes. Those of us in the House Republican Caucus are committed to not raising your taxes to expand Medicaid. This is a difficult task, and we cannot guarantee that all of our recommendations will be taken. If a funding source was laid out during the initiative process, we would’ve had a clear path to paying for all this. Nevertheless, we will continue to look at offsetting the costs of expansion so that we remain respectful of the Idahoans who elected us to be fiscally conservative with their tax dollars.”

Reclaim Idaho blasts Republicans. A majority report from a legislative interim committee formed to look at Medicaid Expansion costs proposes bilking Idaho counties of $10 million per year even though the program could be paid for through cost-savings and Tobacco Settlement monies,” said Reclaim Idaho in a press release. “Under federal law, 90-percent of Medicaid expansion costs are covered by the federal government, while the states pick up the remaining 10 percent. A state-commissioned actuarial study from last year estimated Idaho would either save millions every year from Medicaid Expansion or, depending on how the state handled those savings, pay about $10 million per year for the program. Idaho currently receives more than $20 million per year from the Tobacco Settlement.”

“It is becoming increasingly clear that certain lawmakers are reacting to Idaho’s greatest legislative achievement in a generation with anger and resentment. Whether it’s because Idahoans did what the politicians were incapable of doing or some other reason is unclear,” said Luke Mayville, Co-Founder of Reclaim Idaho. “When politicians start governing out of anger, every Idahoan should be worried about how they will lash out next.”

Public events on Gov. Little calendar

MONDAY, November 11, 2019

Governor Little will deliver remarks at the Idaho State Veterans Home Veterans Day Program at 11 a.m.

TUESDAY, November 12, 2019

Governor Little will issue a proclamation for National Apprenticeship Week in the Governor’s Ceremonial Office at 9 a.m.

Governor Little will issue a proclamation for Traffic Incident Management Week in the Governor’s Ceremonial Office at 9:30 a.m.

Governor Little will participate in an AARP tele-townhall from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. MST. Call-in participation information available at https://states.aarp.org/idaho/join-us-for-a-conversation-with-governor-brad-little.

Governor Little will speak at the CVS Pharmacy Tech Training Facility Grand Opening Celebration, 10302 W. Emerald Boise, ID 83704, at 1 p.m.

WEDNESDAY, November 13, 2019

Governor Little will issue a proclamation for Eye Donor Month in the Governor’s Ceremonial Office at 1:15 p.m.

Governor Little will attend the Land Board Reinvestment Subcommittee meeting in Capitol Room EW40 at 3 p.m.

THURSDAY, November 14, 2019

Governor Little will speak at the Coeur d'Alene Chamber of Commerce luncheon at the Coeur d’Alene Resort at 11:30 p.m.

FRIDAY, November 15, 2019

Governor Little will attend the In the Ditch Towing Products ribbon cutting, 3195 Industrial Way, Mountain Home, ID, at 2 p.m.