Wintrow Introduces Equal Rights Amendment. Rep. Melissa Wintrow (D-Boise) has introduced the Equal Rights Amendment as a personal bill in the House.

The Joint Resolution would amend Article 1 of the Constitution of the State of Idaho to include sex equality. The Equal Rights Amendment would add Section 24 to Article 1, outlining that “equality of rights and responsibilities under law shall not be denied or abridged on the account of sex.”  The addition of sex equality in the Constitution would protect against injustices such as inequitable salaries based on gender. 

“In 1923, Alice Paul introduced the Equal Rights Amendment to ensure equal application of the Constitution to all persons, regardless of their sex. Idaho approved the Equal Rights Amendment in 1972 and then rescinded it in 1979. All Idahoans are deserving of equal treatment under the Constitution,” Wintrow said. “I am committed to furthering the rights of all people and it is inexcusable that the rights of any person could be denied on the basis of sex. The legislature cannot continue to ignore the fact that women are paid less than men for the same work. With the 100th anniversary of the Women Suffrage this year, it is well past time for the legislature to recognize women’s equality.”

Virginia passed the Equal Rights Amendment earlier this year, becoming the 38th state in the nation to ratify it. When Congress sent the ERA to the states, there was a ratification deadline in 1982. However, the movement has recently reignited and there are now enough states to ratify the ERA as the 28th amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Currently, there is an ongoing debate among state legislatures, legal scholars, and the federal government over whether the ERA should be ratified after the 1982 deadline. 

Judge Denies Treasurer’s Motion to Appeal Lawsuit. The Idaho House Republican Caucus is again applauding a judge’s decision against the State Treasurer. “This is yet another ruling that the Treasurer’s repeated efforts to dismiss our claims are futile,” said Speaker of the House Scott Bedke. “We continue to hope that she realizes her errors, starts following state law, and stops wasting everyone’s time and energy.”

Judge Nancy Baskin ruled that Treasurer Julie Ellsworth should not appeal the Judge’s previous ruling against the Treasurer. That ruling denied the Treasurer’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit. In her ruling, Judge Baskin concluded that an appeal by the Treasurer of the Judge’s December ruling now, in the middle of the case, “would not materially advance the resolution of the litigation.”  The Judge also ruled that the factual record is not fully developed to justify an appeal now and that several arguments raised by the Treasurer are simply too weak to justify an appeal.  

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 allowed precluded the Treasurer from deciding what is done with the first floor of the State Capitol. The Treasurer’s office is on the first floor. The Legislature has even offered to allow the Treasurer to stay in her suite with some of her staff. She demands more, even though she, like most other Constitutional Officers in Idaho, already has staff in many other locations.

LINE Commission meets in February. The Leadership in Nuclear Energy (LINE) Commission will meet February 6 in Boise. The commission makes recommendations to the governor on policies and actions of the State of Idaho to support and enhance the long-term viability and mission of the Idaho National Laboratory (INL) and other nuclear industries in Idaho.

“There is an incredible opportunity for Idaho, its businesses, and its institutions of higher learning to lead our nation and the globe in pushing the new frontiers of safe, clean nuclear energy development,” Governor Little said. “The LINE Commission remains dedicated to advising us so we can promote the advancement of nuclear energy and ensure the vitality of the INL.”

The LINE Commission meets Feb. 6 from 8 a.m. to 2:45 p.m.in the Lincoln Auditorium of the Capitol building in Boise. The meeting agenda is available on the LINE Commission web site at https://line.idaho.gov/.

Little signs Families First Act, guarantees state employees eight weeks of paid parental leave. Gov. Brad Little has issued an executive order establishing eight weeks of guaranteed paid leave for eligible employees of Idaho’s executive branch agencies following the birth or adoption of a child.

“Idaho is a state that encourages strong families as the bedrock of our society,” Little said. “Parents and children need to be together as much as possible in the weeks following a birth or adoption. Children benefit, parents benefit, and the state benefits when we support a culture that balances the demands of work with the demands of family.”

Executive Order 2020-03: Families First Act directs the Division of Human Resources to issue a policy effective July 1, 2020, that offers the separate benefit to mothers and fathers employed by executive branch agencies.

State employees already are allowed to take up to 12 weeks of leave following the birth or adoption of a child and keep their jobs under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act, but the leave currently is only paid if the employee has accrued enough sick and vacation hours to cover the leave period. The new benefit assures parents they can take eight weeks of paid leave without having to tap into their accrued sick or vacation hours.

“Flexibility and family-supportive policies are essential to recruiting and retaining a state workforce that is productive and engaged,” Little added.

Parma to host Governor Little’s ‘Capital for a Day’ event. Gov. Little’s next “Capital for a Day” event will be held in Parma on January 31 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Anderson Hall, located at 305 E. Bates Ave.  

Officials joining Governor Little include:

  • Idaho Supreme Court Justice Hon. G. Richard Bevan
  • Idaho Department of Labor Director Jani Revier
  • Idaho Department of Agriculture Director Celia Gould
  • Idaho Department of Fish and Game Director Ed Schriever
  • Idaho Department of Commerce Director Tom Kealey
  • Idaho Department of Health and Welfare Director Dave Jeppesen
  • Idaho Office of Energy and Mineral Resources Administrator John Chatburn
  • Idaho Office of Emergency Management Director Brad Richy
  • Idaho Office of Drug Policy Administrator Melinda Smyser
  • Idaho Division of Financial Management Administrator Alex Adams
  • Representatives from Idaho’s Congressional Delegation and Small Business Development Center

In addition, representatives of the following agencies and state entities will be on hand to help answer questions: Idaho State Department of Parks and Recreation, Idaho Division of Veterans Services, Idaho Transportation Department, Idaho State Police, and Idaho Department of Insurance, and the Idaho Department of Lands.

Little appoints Terry Kirkham to the Commission of Pardons and Parole. Gov. Brad Little has announced the appointment of Terry Kirkham of Idaho Falls to the Commission of Pardons and Parole. “The Parole Commission is a difficult assignment, and I have full confidence that Terry is the best equipped to fill this critical position. His experience and demeanor make him the ideal person for the job,” Little said. “As a former warden and reentry center manager, Terry knows prisons and the challenges offenders face on reentering society. From his time as Chief of the Probation and Parole Division at the Department of Correction, Terry also understands the accountability offenders need for successful outcomes on community supervision,”

Kirkham retired after 27 years at the Idaho Department of Correction in 2017. He began his career at the Department in 1990 as a correctional officer, eventually obtaining the rank of lieutenant. Later, he managed the Idaho Falls and Twin Falls community reentry centers, was district manager at District 7 Probation and Parole, served as warden at the South Idaho Correctional Institution, and finished his career as chief of the Probation and Parole Division.

“I am grateful to Governor Little for entrusting me with the opportunity to serve as a Commissioner. My work with the Idaho Department of Correction has taught me the important role that parole plays in ensuring successful reintegration into the community to ensure public safety. I am excited for this new challenge and the ability to use my expertise on the Commission,” Kirkham said.

Religious Freedom Day Memorial Bill Printed. House State Affairs has printed a Religious Freedom Day resolution sponsored by Rep. Jake Ellis (D-Boise). The resolution declares January 16 Religious Freedom Day in Idaho. National Religious Freedom Day has been proclaimed on January 16 in a yearly statement by the president of the United States since 1993. On January 16, 1786, the Virginia General Assembly adopted Thomas Jefferson’s Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom. Part of the bill reads, “We hold that these principles are not only foundational but remain essential to the health and future of our democracy.”

Ellis expressed excitement after the bill was printed in the House. “Sen. Grant Burgoyne and I came up with this legislation as a way to show Idahoans that all religions are equally deserving of protection from discrimination,” Rep. Ellis said. “Our state deeply values individual rights and expression. I am hopeful that Idaho will join the nation in celebrating one of our nation’s most important cornerstones.” 

“All Idahoans should be free from persecution and discrimination,” Burgoyne said. “Our founders understood that freedom of religion should be guaranteed to people of their religious beliefs.”

Some of the public events on Gov. Brad Little’s calendar

MONDAY, January 27, 2020

Governor Little gives remarks at the Cenarrusa NWACC/FFA Day on the Hill Luncheon at the Riverside Hotel Downstairs Ballroom, located at 2900 W. Chinden Blvd. in Boise, at 12 p.m.

TUESDAY, January 28, 2020

Governor Little will issue a proclamation for Idaho State University Day at the Capitol in the first floor Rotunda at 10 a.m.

WEDNESDAY, January 29, 2020

Governor Little will deliver remarks to the City Club of Boise at the Grove Hotel, located at 245 S. Capitol Blvd. in Boise, at 12 p.m.

THURSDAY, January 30, 2020

Governor Little will deliver the keynote address at the We the People competition awards ceremony at the College of Idaho Langroise Hall, located at S. 20th Ave. in Caldwell, at 1 p.m.

Governor Little will provide welcoming remarks at the legislative reception for the Idaho Commission on Hispanic Affairs in the Zion's Bank Building, 17th Floor, located at 800 W. Main St. in Boise, at 3:15 p.m.

FRIDAY, January 31, 2020

Governor Little will host Capital for a Day in Parma, Anderson Hall, located at 302 N. 3rd St., from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.