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Category: politics

Little appoints Javier Gabiola to 6th Judicial District. Gov. Brad Little has announced the appointment of Javier Gabiola as District Judge to the Sixth Judicial District Court.

“Gabiola’s extensive experience and knowledge of Idaho’s laws make him an ideal candidate to serve the Sixth Judicial District,” Little said. Gabiola has been a member of the Idaho State Bar since 1996 and practiced law at Cooper & Larsen in Pocatello. He is a University of Idaho Law School graduate.

"I am deeply honored to have been selected to serve the Sixth Judicial District and the State of Idaho," Gabiola said. The Sixth Judicial District includes Bannock, Bear Lake, Caribou, Franklin, Oneida and Power Counties.

Idaho Content Standards Rejected in House EducationThe House Education Committee has voted to reject the Idaho Content Standards for Math, Science, and English Language Arts. The committee heard testimony over 3 days to cover language arts, math, and science. Although there was testimony in support of both retaining and rejecting the standards, speakers overwhelmingly showed up to ask the committee to keep the Idaho Content Standards.

The committee voted to reject the standards with a 10-5 vote. Democrats on the committee continually voiced their support for the standards throughout several days of testimony and expressed their disappointment for the rejection of the current academic content standards. 

“We heard overwhelming support from educators, businesses, parents and education stakeholders from every part of the state for the current content standards,” said Rep. Chris Abernathy (D-Pocatello). “Idaho teachers believe in the Idaho Content Standards and its positive impact on their students. I am disappointed that the committee did not vote to uphold the wishes of educators. The removal of our content standards will hurt Idaho students.”

“Idaho students benefit from the Idaho Content Standards,” Assistant Democratic Leader John McCrostie (D-Garden City) said. “As an Idaho teacher, I understand that removing academic content standards is against the best interest of our students. Educators in Idaho understand how to implement the standards, and now the legislature has just pulled the rug out from under them.”

Rep. Ellis Emergency Immunity Legislation Printed. House Commerce and Human Resources has printed legislation sponsored by Rep. Jake Ellis (D-Boise). The purpose of the legislation is to ensure that architects and engineers who are asked to volunteer during an emergency are able to do so with limited liability. Ellis has been working closely with the American Institute of Architects – Idaho Chapter on the legislation.

“Idaho architects and engineers are sometimes asked to lend their expertise during an emergency,” Rep. Ellis said. “Their skills can give important insight that helps first responders make safer decisions. However, architects and engineers are not protected from liability the same way that our first responders are.” 

Substance abuse prevention grants available. The Idaho Office of Drug Policy (ODP) is currently accepting online applications for fiscal year (FY) 2021 Substance Abuse Block Grant (SABG) Primary Prevention Programs. The grants support substance abuse prevention efforts at both state and local levels. The program empowers communities to design solutions to specific drug and alcohol problems experienced locally.

Public entities and non-profit organizations are eligible for funding and encouraged to apply. Approximately $1.6 million is available for evidence-based Direct Service Programs and Community Programs/Activities designed to reduce the impact of substance abuse on our youth, families and communities across Idaho.

“We are pleased to continue this important grant program focused on the primary prevention of substance abuse in Idaho,” ODP Administrator Melinda Smyser said. “The implementation of evidence-based prevention strategies by passionate, dedicated prevention providers and community members make Idaho a stronger, safer and healthier place to live. “  To learn more about the SABG Primary Prevention Grant Program including how to apply, please visit: https://prevention.odp.idaho.gov/grant-opportunities/  

House State Affairs Prints Legislation Locking Legislative Districts. House Speaker Scott Bedke (R-Oakley) brought legislation to House State Affairs that would lock the number of legislative districts at 35. The legislation is a constitutional amendment because it is the first step to changing the constitution. Currently, the constitution requires that there are at least 30 districts and no more than 35 districts.

The legislation was printed and will soon have a full hearing in committee. Rep. Brooke Green (D-Boise) expressed concern with making changes to the constitution. “Voters are not asking us to lock districts for legislative races,” said Green. “Idaho is a nationwide model for fair, transparent redistricting. “If we are going to change the constitution, we need to tread lightly. The bill before us will require us to open up our state constitution and this deserves a lot of dialogue. This legislation is especially concerning because it ties the hands of future legislators. We should use serious caution when attempting to legislate the future.” 

Census committee to meet Feb. 13. The State Complete Count Committee formed by Gov. Brad Little last year to assist federal partners in completing the 2020 Census Count will meet Feb. 13 at 10 a.m. in the Idaho Association of Counties Policy Office, located at 700 W. Washington. Boise. A meeting agenda and information about the committee can be found at https://gov.idaho.gov/2020-census/.

Secretary of State Lawerence Denney and former state legislator Wendy Jaquet co-chair the committee. The U.S. Census Bureau conducts a population count every 10 years. Census results help determine the allocation of federal funds and electoral redistricting, and they help inform business and policymaking decisions at all levels. American households will receive an invitation to participate by April of 2020.

Senator Nelson and Burgoyne’s Right to Repair Legislation Printed. A bill sponsored by Sen. David Nelson (D-Moscow) has been printed in Senate Commerce and Human Resources. The legislation would allow farmers and ranchers to save money on repairs for their high-tech farm equipment and citizens to get their own electronic equipment repaired as well.  

“We want to put power back in farmer’s hands,” said Nelson. “Our agricultural community relies on their equipment to be efficient. If a farmer has to use the dealer for all repairs, it can significantly raise costs and prevent independent repair shops from having a chance for the business. It’s not fair if a manufacturer has monopoly power on a repair that lets them charge high prices. Agriculture is crucial to our state and Right to Repair legislation would support Idaho Farmers. Vehicles, tractors, and other farming equipment are costly to repair or replace, and the current laws make the process of making repairs more costly than necessary. The safety and success of our farmers and ranchers are a priority for the legislature and this legislation supports that priority.”