Governor Little appoints Kurt Liebich to State Board of Education. Gov. Brad Little has announced the appointment of Kurt Liebich of Boise to the State Board of Education.

“Kurt is enthusiastic about improving opportunities for Idaho’s youth, and he has demonstrated that commitment as a valued member of my ‘Our Kids, Idaho’s Future’ task force to strengthen public education in Idaho,” Little said. “Kurt has proven he can lead and build consensus with a thoughtful, analytical approach. His extensive experience in education policy and business is a welcome addition to the body that governs Idaho’s public kindergarten through college education system.”

Liebich has served on the boards of numerous educational nonprofit organizations, including Idaho Business for Education, Project Lead the Way, Riverstone International School, and the Lee Pesky Center. He is the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Boise-based RedBuilt LLC and New Wood Resources LLC. RedBuilt is a supplier of engineered structural solutions and New Wood Resources is a veneer and plywood products operation. Liebich also has served on the executive management team for the Weyerhaeuser Corporation, one of the world’s largest integrated forest products companies.

Liebich earned an MBA in General Management from Harvard University and a BA in Economics from Bowdoin College in Maine.

“I’m honored by this opportunity to serve Idaho students,” Liebich said. “Idaho’s public education system – across K-12, career technical education, and our community colleges and universities – is the foundation for Idahoans’ future prosperity. I am excited to continue my work on these important issues, now as a member of the State Board of Education.”

Rubel runs for House Democratic leader. Rep. Ilana Rubel (D-Boise) has announced that she will run for the position of House Democratic Leader to replace Rep. Mat Erpelding, who resigned. Elections for new leadership will be held Dec. 10. 

“Rep. Erpelding will be deeply missed in the statehouse, and his absence will be felt throughout Idaho,” said Rubel. “It was an honor to serve with him. With my experience in Democratic leadership, I bring an important strategic perspective to the table that will be necessary to preserve Idaho values during the upcoming legislative session. I look forward to working with the majority, and hope we can find bipartisan solutions to better the lives of Idahoans.”

Wintrow runs for assistant House Democratic leader. Rep. Melissa Wintrow (D-Boise) has announced her plans to run for Assistant House Democratic Leader. Leadership elections will be held on Dec. 10. Members of the House Democratic caucus will vote for the House Democratic Leader. Candidates will need a majority vote to win the election. 

“During my time in the legislature, I have watched Rep. Erpelding lead our caucus through some of the state’s most challenging times,” said Wintrow. “Unfortunately, there are many tough fights ahead as we fight to preserve our rights and values. Mat has left some of the biggest shoes for anyone to fill, but I will do my best to honor his legacy and continue to work hard for our district and state. I am optimistic that the Idaho Democratic caucus will support a continued District 19 representative in House leadership. I look forward to continuing the fight for progressive values and preserving the rights of all Idahoans.” 

Governor’s Opioid & Substance Use Disorder Advisory Group holds meeting in Caldwell. Gov. Brad Little’s Opioid and Substance Use Disorder Advisory Group, established by executive order, will hold its third meeting on Dec. 11, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Caldwell Veterans Memorial Hall, 1101 Cleveland Blvd in Caldwell.

The advisory group is tasked with researching, evaluating, and providing the governor recommendations on 12 specific matters related to opioid and substance misuse in Idaho. The advisory group will receive a presentation from the Prevention Administrator of the Utah Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services—in support of the governor’s task to examine best practices from other states.

“Our last meeting allowed advisory group members to do some brainstorming and establish ideas for potential recommendations to offer the Governor,” said Advisory Group Chair and Administrator of the Office of Drug Policy, Melinda Smyser. “The group will continue to develop those recommendations and potentially vote on any that are ready for consideration.”

Agendas, meeting materials, and other information about the advisory group is available on the web site for the Governor’s Office of Drug Policy at this link:

Judge denies State Treasurer’s motion to dismiss lawsuit. The Idaho House Republican Caucus is applauding a judge’s decision to deny the State Treasurer’s motion to dismiss a lawsuit against her. “Judge Nancy Baskin made it clear in her decision that everything the treasurer claimed in her motion to dismiss was totally without merit,” said Speaker of the House Scott Bedke. “We now hope that she, as treasurer, will re-prioritize her use of the treasury and stop interfering with the law.”

Speaker Bedke and President Pro Tem Brent Hill were forced to file the complaint in June after State Treasurer Julie Ellsworth refused to follow state law. That 2007 law allows the Legislature to decide what is done with the first, third, and fourth floors of the State Capitol. The Treasurer’s office is on the first floor.

In her decision, the Honorable Judge Baskin noted that state law, “… outlines a clear delegation of the power belonging to the Legislature to allocate ‘all space’ listed in the statute to the Plaintiffs in their official capacities.” Judge Baskin went on to say that the Treasurer claims she has an implied discretionary power to determine the location of the State Treasurer’s office, and that “Such an implied power goes far beyond any reasonable reading of the constitutional text and could lead to an absurd result.”

‘Sticker shock’ campaign aims to curb underage drinking. A youth-led initiative to change adult attitudes about selling and providing alcohol to minors is currently underway at liquor stores across the state.

The campaign represents a continuing partnership between The Idaho Office of Drug Policy, the Idaho State Liquor Division, and 24 community prevention organizations to bring attention to the issue of underage drinking during the holiday season—when youth are more likely to get alcohol from adults they already know.

“We know that 46.6 percent of Idaho youth who drink underage usually obtain alcohol by someone giving it to them, including by adults 21 and older who can purchase it legally,” said Melinda Smyser, administrator of the Idaho Office of Drug Policy.

Students from local community-based leadership groups are working with participating ISLD stores to spread “Sticker Shock” waves across Idaho. Their goal: reach adults who might be willing to buy alcohol for— or make alcohol available to— youth under 21. 

According to Smyser, “This important campaign reminds Idaho adults of the legal consequences of providing alcohol to minors and will help us in keep Idaho kids alcohol-free not only during the holiday season but year-round.”

Student volunteers place attention-grabbing stickers on the bags that customers receive when purchasing products from liquor stores. The “Think Twice or Pay the Price” stickers are attention-grabbing and provide a strong reminder: “If You Provide Alcohol to Minors, You Could Face up to $1,000 in Fines & up to one year in Jail.”

Idaho Economic Advisory Council announces December meeting. The Idaho Economic Advisory Council will meet Dec. 19 at 2 p.m. to review a Tax Reimbursement Incentive application and discuss Community Development Block Grant updates. The meeting will be held at the Department of Commerce in the J.R. Williams Building Clearwater Conference Room on the Second Floor (700 W. State Street, Boise).The TRI application review will be held in Executive Session due to the proprietary company information discussed, pursuant to Idaho Code 74-206(1)(d) to review records exempt from public disclosure under Idaho Code Sections 74-107(1), 74-107(6), and/or 67-4708. Upon approval by the EAC, the TRI awards would be announced in coordination with the company’s announcement timeline. View the full agenda here.The Idaho Economic Advisory Council advises the Governor and Idaho Commerce on goals and objectives that further economic development within the state. The council makes recommendations to the Governor on applications for block grant funding and reviews industrial revenue bond allocations. Additionally, council members advise their regions on economic development opportunities and represent their interests to state government.For the full list of the Idaho Commerce Economic Advisory Council members, click here. To learn more about Community Development Block Grant funding, click here. To learn more about the Idaho Tax Reimbursement Incentive, click here.