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Idaho’s legislative leaders seem to agree funding for education will be the key to concluding the current session by a hoped-for March 27 deadline. Both House Speaker Scott Bedke and Senate President Pro-Tem Brent Hill told an early-March session of the Idaho Press Club that the current plan is to adopt a compromise phased-increase salary schedule for teachers who meet performance benchmarks over a five-year period, with annual base pay starting at $37,000.
A second priority, transportation funding, may be harder to resolve, Hill said. While funding has been shorted for both in recent years, the first emphasis will be education, and further tax cuts are likely to be postponed until the plan, currently estimated to cost an additional $125.6 million, is resolved.
Among other spending proposals to be addressed in the remaining weeks is funding for a second community mental health crisis center next year, for northern Idaho, to follow the first such center that opened late last year in Idaho Falls. Three of the centers were originally proposed as alternatives to jail or hospitalization for people undergoing mental health crises.
The short list does not allow for further discussion of several other issues that were widely hoped for, including amending the state’s Human Rights Act to include gender identity and sexual orientation as protected civil rights, an increase in the state minimum wage, stuck since 2009 at the federal minimum of $7.25 an hour, and adopting a strongly supported Medicaid redesign that would expand coverage to more than 67,000 Idaho residents whose income levels do not qualify them for care.
Idaho’s ‘Citizen Legislature’
The Idaho Legislature is responsible for translating the public will into public policy for the state, levying taxes, appropriating public funds, and overseeing the administration of state agencies. These responsibilities are carried out through the legislative process -- laws passed by elected representatives of the people, legislators.
Since statehood in 1890, Idaho's legislators have enjoyed a rich and successful history of charting the state's growth. Much of that success can be attributed to the fact that Idaho's legis-
lators are "citizen" legislators, not career politicians. They are farmers and ranchers, businessmen and women, lawyers, doctors, sales people, loggers, teachers. Elected for two-year terms and in session at the Capitol about three months each year, Idaho's citizen legislators are able to maintain close ties to their communities and a keen interest in the concerns of the electorate.
The Idaho Legislature is composed of 35 Senators and 70 Representatives elected for two-year terms. The state is divided into 35 legislative districts, each represented by one Senator and two Representatives. The crossing of upper and lower house districts into a single constituency is found in only six other U.S. state legislatures, in, Arizona, Maryland, New Jersey, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Washington. Based on 2010 census data, each of Idaho’s legislative districts had approximately 44,788 residents. Reapportionment, which must take place soon after the U.S. Census figures are published every ten years, realigns legislative districts proportionately with the census population totals. The next such adjustment is expected to occur after the 2020 census and take effect as of the 2022 election.
(Read more here: http://legislature.idaho.gov/about/citizenlegislature.htm)
To see what has been achieved by the Legislature so far, in terms of bills enacted,
in terms of bills enacted, click here:
To find contact information for Senate committees, click here:
To find contact information for House committees, click here:
For contact information for members of the Joint Finance and Appropriations Committees (JFAC) in both houses, click here:
To find your representatives by district, click here:
To contact your legislators by name, use the official e-mail forms provided here:
To contact legislators by committee, click here:
To monitor hearings, use the Idaho Public Television "Legislature Live" link, here:
A bill is a proposal for the enactment, amendment or repeal of an existing law, or for the appropriation of public money. A bill may originate in either the House or Senate, with the exception of revenue measures, which originate in the House of Representatives. It must be passed by a majority vote of each house of the Legislature and be signed into law by the governor. If the governor vetoes a bill, it can become law if passed again by a two-thirds majority of those present in each house. A bill can also become law without thegGovernor's signature if it is not vetoed within five days (Sundays excepted) after presentation to the governor. After the Legislature adjourns "sine die," the governor has 10 days to veto or sign a bill.
(The Sine Die summary of the previous legislative session, in PDF format, is here:
Before the final vote on a bill, it must be read on three separate days in each house. Two-thirds of the members of the house where the bill is pending may vote to dispense with this provision.
A member, a group of members or a standing committee may introduce a bill. After the 20th day of the session in the House and the 12th day in the Senate, bills may be introduced only by committee. After the 35th day, bills may be introduced only by certain committees. In the House: State Affairs, Appropriations, Education, Revenue and Taxation, and Ways and Means Committee. In the Senate: State Affairs, Finance, and Judiciary and Rules.
The original bill and 15 copies are presented to the Chief Clerk who assigns the bill a number. The bill is then introduced by being read on the Order of Business "Introduction and First Reading of Bills." Bills that have been passed by the other house are received and placed on the same Order of Business and treated in the same manner as new bills.
The bill is read the first time and is then referred by the Speaker of the House to the Judiciary, Rules and Administration Committee for printing. After the bill is printed, it is reported back and referred to a standing committee by the Speaker.
Reports of Standing Committees
Each committee to which a bill is referred conducts a study
Do you need more information or background on issues such as women's health, Common Core, pay equity, civil rights, or education? Use the TransForm Idaho custom search engine below, and on all our pages. Powered by Google.