by Representative Neil Anderson
Greetings from the Idaho State Capital. We are now into the fourth week of what is projected to be an 11 week session. Idaho has a wonderful procedure in place that requires each agency to have any new rule it has passed reviewed by the House and the Senate. That means the citizens have somebody that they know (their legislator) looking at the rules the bureaucrats make to verify they are sensible. By the way, the rules do not always pass and a few are sent back for revision each year. The first couple weeks of the session are mainly taken up with rule reviews and the Governor’s State of the State Address, and the reaction to it.
This year for the first time since 2008, the decision was made to assemble a CEC Committee to review the compensation for our roughly 17,000 state employees. The committee was comprised of nine Representatives and nine Senators, and I was asked to be the Chairman from the House of Representatives. After meetings on three different days, hearing presentations, and testimony from many different sources, we determined a raise of two percent was justified. The Senate Co-Chairman and I made that recommendation to the Joint Finance and Appropriations Committee (JFAC) on Friday. They will decide if funding is available, and have scheduled a vote for February 12.
Bills are now starting to be presented at the committee level. Ones I have consulted on have to do with tax treatment for non-profits, a law to limit information given to the federal government without a search warrant, a pilot pre-school program, and a program to provide tax benefits to companies opening new operations (i.e. more jobs) in Idaho. We are also discussing the need for legislation in areas as diverse as roads, investment of the state’s rainy day funds, military personnel education, and education loan paybacks. Education funding and Common Core Standards continue to be widely discussed topics. It looks like Medicaid expansion and major transportation costs will not be taken up this year.
There seems to be no shortage of issues to discuss or problems to solve. Still, I believe we are a blessed people. On a personal note, Sue and her dog are with me in our little two bedroom rented house and I enjoy the company and support. My office phone number is 208-332-1086 and my email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. Let me know your thoughts and I look forward to hearing from you. Keep smilin’!
State Rep. Neil Anderson is a Republican representing District 31, which includes all of Bingham County.