Idaho Democratic Legislators Host Event for Gerrymandering Expert and Author, David Daley. Idaho Democratic legislators are holding the “We Need You to Defend Fair Elections in Idaho” event on Feb. 6.

The event is centered around a conversation with national gerrymandering expert, David Daley. Daley authored the 2016 book, Ratf**ked: Why Your Vote Doesn’t Count, which explores how Republican political operatives were able to exploit the redistricting process to gain control of the U.S. Congress. 

Rep. Melissa Wintrow/(D-Boise) led the organizing efforts to bring Daley to Idaho. She expressed the importance of attending the events.

“Democratic legislators in Idaho have been fighting for fair elections for several sessions.” Wintrow said. “Gerrymandering is a bipartisan issue that will impact voters from both sides of the aisle. When one side is making all the rules, there is no balance in our government or institutions. There is a huge risk of corruption and misrepresentation when one party is pulling all of the strings.”

“It’s well known that Idaho is the gold standard for redistricting. Other states look to Idaho for guidance on how to make elections more fair and balanced. We asked David Daley to come to Idaho and inform Democrats and Republicans on both sides of some of the dangers of having a redistricting process that is more lenient toward gerrymandering. I hope to see Idahoans from all political backgrounds at this event with the intention of informing themselves to fight any efforts that would make our elections unfair.” 

Daley will speak at the Egyptian Theatre on Feb. 6. The doors open at 6 pm and the show will begin at 7 pm. You can purchase tickets at this link.

District 19 Town Hall Meeting. Sen. Cherie Bucker-Web (D-Boise), Rep. Melissa Wintrow (D-Boise), and Rep. Lauren Nechochea (D-Boise) will hold a town hall for District 19 on Tuesday, February 11, starting at 6 pm at Shadow Hills Elementary School. The town hall meeting will be an opportunity for constituents to meet with their legislators and get involved with important issues happening in their community and across the state. 

“The most important part of an effective government is involving our constituents in the legislative process,” Wintrow said. “The voices of our community members need to be heard so we can uphold their needs and values. Although some legislation comes from our own expertise, oftentimes we draft bills after hearing about problems in our community from voters. Town halls are a perfect opportunity to identify some of the consistent issues that our constituents are dealing with and propose solutions together.”  

“As the newest representative from District 19, it’s incredibly important to me to start talking with constituents,” said Nechochea. “Working in our communities and staying connected to their needs is necessary for an effective, responsive government. Town halls are the perfect opportunity to get involved in what’s happening in your area.”

Governor’s Salmon Workgroup will hear public comments and meet in Boise on Jan. 17 – 18. The public is invited to provide comments to the Workgroup on Jan. 17, 5-7 p.m. in the Idaho State Capitol Building located at 700 W. Jefferson St. in the Lincoln Auditorium.

Interested members of the public must sign in and indicate their desire to comment on the record upon entering the meeting. Each member of the public will be limited to three minutes apiece. Comments will be taken on a “first come, first served basis” per the sign-in sheet. The Workgroup accepts written comments, all written comments will be distributed to the Workgroup.

On January 18, the Workgroup will hold a public meeting at the University of Idaho Boise Water Center located at 332 E. Front St. in the Legacy Pointe Room.

The meeting will include updates from the agenda and mission statements subgroups, presentations on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) estuarine and ocean salmon research, central Idaho Chinook salmon habitat and the status and trends of wild populations in those habitats, harvest issues, and a policy discussion.

Jordan Introduces Add the Words LegislationSen. Maryanne Jordan (D-Boise) has introduced Add the Words legislation as a personal bill in the Senate. Senate Bill 1226 seeks to add “sexual orientation” and “gender discrimination” to Idaho’s Human Rights Act to protect those of the LGBTQ community from discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodation.

Jordan brought this bill as a personal bill during the 2019 session in an attempt to Add the Words to protect the groups under Idaho’s anti-discrimination laws. She is honored to have all Senate and House Democrats as co-sponsors.

“Idahoans and their families are desperate for the legislature to Add the Words. Protection from discrimination in employment, housing and  public accommodation for all is a human right,” Jordan said. “While several cities across Idaho have ordinances prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, all citizens should be protected from being kicked out of their home or being fired from their job regardless of their gender or who they love.”

Burgoyne Introduces Two Criminal Justice Bills. Sen. Grant Burgoyne (D-Boise) has introduced Drug Decriminalization legislation as a personal bill in the Senate. The bill would 1) decriminalize the unlawful use of controlled substances in private places and 2) repeal the current prohibition on civil commitments for drug abuse. 

Burgoyne introduced the legislation with the purpose of starting a conversation about shifting the focus from prosecution and punishment to treatment of drug abuse in Idaho.

“I have heard from many of my constituents that there are too many people in Idaho prisons,” Burgoyne said. “Idaho has a drug addiction problem and we cannot arrest our way out of it. To be clear, I am not asking that we legalize drug use, but we should consider decriminalization. We need to start treating drug addiction with robust rehabilitation. I am hopeful that my legislation will start the conversation with lawmakers, law enforcement, and others about how we treat Idahoans, especially young Idahoans, who are suffering from drug addiction.”

Burgoyne’s bill repeals the current prohibition on civil commitments for drug abuse to remove one of the current barriers to effective treatment. The bill does not excuse crimes that might be associated, arise from, or co-occur with illegal drug use, and it retains prohibitions in Idaho law on 1) using and being under the influence in a public place, 2) drug trafficking (while adding an intent to deliver requirement), and 3) driving under the influence. 

Burgoyne plans to bring another criminal justice bill in the form of a constitutional amendment. The proposed amendment would allow law enforcement officers to make warrantless misdemeanor arrests based on probable cause when the offense in question is not committed in an officer’s presence. 

Governor Brad Little’s calendar  

MONDAY, January 20, 2020

Governor Little will issue a proclamation for Martin Luther King Jr. and Idaho Human Rights Day in the Second Floor Rotunda of the Capitol at 12 p.m.

Governor Little will issue a proclamation for the 125th Anniversary of the Jewish Community in Idaho in the Governor’s Ceremonial Office at 1 p.m.

Governor Little will recognize FEMA agents who assisted during the 2019 flood season in the Governor’s Ceremonial Office at 2 p.m.

TUESDAY, January 21, 2020

Governor Little will preside over the regularly scheduled Land Board Meeting in the Boise City Council Chambers at 9 a.m.