Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Roads and Changes...

It's construction time again so we here in Meridian are beginning the annual summer game of "Dodge the Construction" to get where we need to go. Many of us are unaware of what changes are being worked on or even planned until we see detour signs going up... even when it appears that it's going to happen right around the corner from our homes. I guess it's natural to get frustrated with not knowing what's coming next, but we can individually help educate ourselves on "what's up in the hood" by checking in on the Ada County Highway District.

I would suggest that you periodically check the ACHD site for updates on what will be going on in your area. Click on the link to check their 5 year plan or one of the different projects they currently have going on. They even have the web cams up so you can see if you are going to run into traffic on your homeward commute. They do have a lot of resources available for you to understand what is planned for the areas of your interest. If you have input, please get involved and contact ACHD to let them know what you think... after all, ACHD is spending YOUR money.
I have made some queries for the Meridian contact name for the ACHD Neighborhood Advisory Council members, our members of the committee are: Terry Smith, Andy Wonacott and Matt Ellsworth. They can be contacted via a single email address: neighbors@achd.ada.id.us Please drop them a note thanking them for volunteering and let them know about your concerns.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Meridian Lions Meeting, End of Session Review

What a great bunch of folks! Early breakfast meetings are normally a hard meeting to have fun in, but these folks know how to do it. They are doing some great work for our community and we should all make sure that when we have some time to lend them a hand that we step up and do just that. From Easter Baskets for the needy to the local Rodeo, these folks are involved in making our community of Meridian a better place to live... Thanks for that!

We had some time at the end of the meeting to review the 2007 Legislative activity this session and there were many questions regarding topics that were relating to funding. Regardless of the topic, it all comes down to how much does the state have to spend and where should it be spent to take care of the services that are most needed by our citizens.

We discussed everything from GARVEE funding to community planning and services. I think a great summary are within the two pictures I'm going to "borrow" from the Idaho Legislative website below.
What's in the "State's bucket of Money" and where it comes from.... and the second chart is where the money is spent....

These charts are out of the final 2007 Legislative "Sine Die" Report of the session. It includes a summary of each of the bills passed, where money was spent and those bills that did not become law due to veto. There is a ton of great information in this report, I'd recommend that you take a look at it and bookmark it for your ref. as to where our Idaho dollars are coming from and are going.
(FYI it is a rather large .pdf document so if you are on a slow line, be prepared to wait for a bit)
Thanks Meridian Lions for the opportunity to review our session with you. I look forward to working with you in the future.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Meridian Lions Club Breakfast

Join the Meridian Lions club this Thursday morning (April 12th) at 0645 at the IHOP in Meridian. We will be reviewing the progress made during the past 2007 Idaho legislative session and issues still pending, as well as answering questions about upcoming state projects. Bring your questions and enjoy some good company for breakfast.

Hope to see you there.


Monday, April 9, 2007

2007 Idaho State Legislature Key Actions

Due to pressing timetables surrounding the Capitol restoration project, legislative leadership, committee chairs and the membership at large kept the Legislature’s business well focused throughout the 2007 legislative session. The committees, in particular, did a great job of screening and prioritizing legislation. As a result, fewer pieces of legislation were drafted, introduced and passed than in recent years, enabling the Legislature to meet aggressive target dates set by the Legislative Council in November.

With that said, however, the 2007 Idaho Legislature tackled a wide range of important issues, beginning with a reconfigured Capitol Building master plan, which reflects a compromise between the Governor and Legislature to restore and revitalize Idaho’s most preeminent public building and to provide expanded hearing rooms in the new atrium wings for public participation in the legislative process. The Legislature approved several new, important substance abuse and mental health service initiatives and adopted several energy initiatives, including the first comprehensive statewide energy plan since 1982. The Legislature also clarified the procedures for starting new community college districts and provided incentive start-up funds, strengthened child abuse statutes, developed strategies and infrastructure to address a nursing shortage, provided need-based scholarships in higher education, raised public school teacher salaries and state employee compensation, and funded a new state park and other recreation enhancements. The Legislature also provided state anticipated revenue financing (STAR) for transportation infrastructure and approved the second bonding phase for GARVEE-funded highway projects (the Senate defeated the GARVEE bill, S1245 at 12:50 pm, March 29, which was later re-written by House and Senate Leadership and approved for 6 critical road projects).

Although the Legislature also increased the grocery tax credit, that legislation was vetoed. The House overrode that veto, but the Senate chose not to address an override. Both the House and Senate, however, overrode the Governor’s veto of a bill banning smoking in bowling alleys.

The Legislature developed a far-reaching, balanced budget that provided a 5.9% increase for public schools and an 8.4% increase for colleges and universities, and at the same time held Medicaid spending to 5.4%, which is the first time in two decades that educational spending outpaced the fast-growing Medicaid budget. JFAC and the Legislature also made sure that cash reserves were given high priority, and the state now has $121 million in the Budget Stabilization Fund, $101 million in the Public Schools Stabilization Fund and $60 million in the Economic Recovery Reserve Fund. The Millennium Fund endowment, although not a cash reserve, now has $58 million, and $98 million was moved into the Permanent Building Fund to catch up on critical building facility needs. The Legislature’s budget blueprint is a cornerstone accomplishment of the 2007 legislative session, along with energy policy, mental health and substance abuse initiatives, and higher education.

The following key actions list is a sampling of the many issues addressed by the 2007 Legislature.


H 26 – Eliminates the requirement that grazing lease fees are payable by certain dates, clarifying that annual payments are due as stated in lease agreements.

H 33 – Authorizes the Division of Environmental Quality to inspect federally regulated underground storage tanks, instead of the Environmental Protection Agency, and establishes a state program to monitor underground storage tanks.

H 56aaS – Creates the Idaho Rural Development Partnership to serve as a clearinghouse for rural development resources and information, seek solutions to unnecessary impediments to rural development and establish strategies to improve the quality of life in rural Idaho.

H 243 – Exempts from disclosure certain test results of the Department of Agriculture Seed Laboratory on samples submitted by seed producers and seed companies.

H 244 – Exempts from disclosure certain records of results of laboratory tests conducted by the Idaho State Department of Agriculture Animal Health Laboratory on samples submitted by veterinarians and animal owners.

HCR 28 – Requests the Idaho Water Resource Board to expeditiously pursue, with support from the Idaho Department of Water Resources, development of a comprehensive aquifer management plan as documented in the Eastern Snake River Plain Comprehensive Aquifer Management Plan framework, the purpose of which is to facilitate and encourage resolution of surface/groundwater rights conflicts.

S 1086 – Creates a wolf tag available for purchase by those licensed to hunt in Idaho, at a price of $9.75 for Idaho residents and $150 for nonresidents.

S 1128aa – Prohibits the use of devices accessed and controlled via the internet to shoot or kill birds and animals.

S 1212 – The appropriation bill for the Idaho Department of Parks and recreation funds a new state park in eastern Idaho on the Snake River, and also provides for a new bridge access to Eagle Island State Park, and a new 70 acre recreation parcel in the Hagerman Valley.
** Update: The Gov. line item veto'd th funds for the State Park in Eastern Idaho. There was question as to the cost of the park vs. the year around viability of use of the selected site as it is located in a flood plain.


H 90 – Increases from three years to five years the maximum period for examination by the director of the Department of Insurance of insurers and certain organizations.

H 91 – Limits the net amount of risk an insurer can retain for property coverage to 10% of surplus to policyholders.

H 100 – Updates licensing requirements for manufactured housing manufacturers, retailers, installers, service companies and salespeople to require background checks, increase bonding requirements and add enforcement provisions for violations.

H 109 – Requires liquified petroleum gas facilities to procure and have in effect a general liability insurance policy of not less than $1 million.

H 111 – Authorizes the Department of Insurance to promulgate rules to protect members of the armed forces from unscrupulous insurance sales practices.

H 132 – Simplifies certain licensing, permitting and inspection requirements for heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) installations.

H 155aa – Establishes the Nursing Workforce Advisory Council to act as advisors on nursing workforce uses, and establishes the Nursing Workforce Center to investigate nursing workforce issues.

H 184aa – Sets the minimum wage in Idaho to the rate set by the federal government and changes the minimum for tipped workers from 33% of the minimum wage to a flat minimum rate of $3.35 per hour.

H 198 – Permits the financing of industrial, commercial, and other projects to promote economic development throughout the state in partnership with private financial institutions and state or local economic development entities, and allow the pooling of loans for such projects to save financing transaction costs.

H 223 – Requires that calls placed by an automatic dialing-announcing device (robocalls) must disclose specific information at the start of the call

S 1019 – Establishes the Idaho Entity Transaction Act, allowing conversion of one kind of business organization to another, or the merger of two or more business organizations into one organization.


H 124 – Extends from one year to four years the statute of limitations against those who fail to report child abuse or who cover up abuse.

H 125aa – Allows victims of child sexual abuse up to five years to sue after they realize abuse has occurred, and allows victims to sue abusers’ employers if they have shown gross negligence in hiring or training practices or have covered up a worker’s abusive behavior.

H 158 – Allows prescription and patient information to be released to law enforcement agents upon presentation of a search warrant or other appropriate court order.

H 174aa – Increases from $500 to $2,500 the amount of damages that may be assessed against a person who knowingly makes a report or allegation of child abuse, abandonment or neglect.

H 194 – Makes it a misdemeanor to maliciously and willfully disturb the dignity or reverential nature of any funeral, memorial service, funeral procession, burial ceremony or viewing of a deceased person.

S 1123aa – Provides a full salary to police and detention officers who are temporarily disabled due to an injury received on the job.

S 1032 – Increases to 15 years the maximum penalty for intentional and unlawful discharge of a firearm at an inhabited dwelling or occupied motor vehicle.

S 1164 – Allows for the service of search warrants by mail, facsimile or electronic means.


H 217 – Creates the Idaho Opportunity Scholarship, a need-based scholarship for Idaho students attending Idaho colleges and universities. The intent of this scholarship is to provide "last-dollar" financial resources for students based on need.

H 237 – Clarifies procedures for formation of community college districts, requires that signatures on formation petitions be checked by county clerks to ensure validity and requires that elections to form community college districts be conducted by county clerks.

H 283 – Includes in the appropriation for the Office of the State Board of Education the Legislature’s intent to make newly formed community college districts eligible for up to $5 million in ongoing General Fund moneys.

H 295aa – Extends access to the Robert R. Lee Category A Scholarship to home-schooled students.

HCR 30 – Authorizes Idaho State University to purchase 102,000 square feet within the former Jabil Circuit building in Meridian to be used for health sciences education.

HCR 31 – Authorizes Boise State University to construct a Student Health, Wellness and Counseling Center/Department of Nursing Building.

HCR 32 – Authorizes the construction of a health sciences facility at Lewis-Clark State College to be known as the Health Sciences Building.

S 1089aa – Changes terms of community college trustees from six to four years and requires that elections correspond to major Idaho election dates.


H 202 – Allows retired Idaho teachers and administrators to be rehired as “at will employees” without jeopardizing their state retirement benefits.

S 1053 – Increases the funds available to school districts for voter approved school district bonds by raising the cap for the School Bond Guarantee Program.

S 1067 – Increases the money available to school districts to conduct consolidation plans and studies, makes available one-time employee severance payments, increases state subsidies paid on bonds passed and increases the amount that goes to a school district from savings realized as a result of consolidation.

S 1098 – Gives the proceeds from estates without heirs and the unclaimed shares and dividends paid by Idaho corporations to the Public School Permanent Endowment Fund.

S1088aa – Provides for the creation of regional professional-technical charter schools.

S 1235 – Appropriates a 3% base salary increase for teachers and increases the minimum teacher’s salary from $30,000 to $31,000.


H 30 – Authorizes cities to participate as joint owners or power purchasers in joint electric generation and transmission projects.

H 137 – Adopts the 2006 International Residential Energy Conservation Code, which has been revised in increase energy efficiency and to be more user-friendly for designers and builders.

H 150 – Creates a 50/50 matching grant program for Idaho retail fuel dealers who choose to invest in qualified fueling infrastructure projects dedicated to providing biofuels to their customers.

H 177 – Provides an additional 3% investment tax credit to Idaho retail fuel dealers or fuel distributors who invest in infrastructure dedicated to providing biofuels to their customers.

H 189 – Changes the method of taxation on producers of wind energy from a property tax to a tax on production.

HCR 13 – Adopts the Idaho Energy Plan as Idaho’s first comprehensive, statewide energy plan since 1982. This integrated energy plan was developed by the Legislative Council’s interim committee on Energy, Environment and Technology.

HCR 25 – Authorizes appointment of an Interim Committee on Energy, Environment and Technology to monitor the Idaho Energy Plan, to make recommendations for any necessary changes in state law and the plan and to monitor other energy, environment and technology-related issues.


H 166aa – Provides for a Medicaid Fraud Program in the Department of Health and Welfare and establishes an independent, certified Medicaid Fraud Control Unit in the Office of the Attorney General.

H 218 – Approves a revised Capitol Master Plan that includes the restoration of the Capitol Building, the construction of two single-story atrium wings, and reconfiguration of space in the Capitol Building that assigns to the Legislature control of the first floor.

H 222 – Separates the Department of Commerce and Labor into two separate agencies — the Department of Commerce and the Department of Labor.

S 1085 – Allows public agencies to meet in executive session to discuss risk-management insurance issues; requires more detailed minutes of the closed sessions and clarifies the need for a board’s legal counsel to be present if a closed session is called to discuss litigation.

S 1172 – Makes English the official language of the state of Idaho.

All Agency Appropriation Bills – Provide for a 5% salary increase for state employees and covers health insurance increases from reserves.


H 20aaS – Provides for background checks for individuals acting as supervised access providers for children.

H 121 – Bans smoking in bowling alleys by eliminating the exemption. Vetoed; veto overridden in the House and in the Senate.

H 248 – Requires physicians using ultrasound equipment in the performance of an abortion to inform patients of their right to view the ultrasound image prior to the procedure.

S 1017aa – Updates Idaho’s laws regarding organ donation and names those family members who can make organ donation decisions for a decedent.

S 1061 – Makes guardianship available as a permanent placement option for children who are within the jurisdiction of the Child Protective Act (Title 16, Chapter 16, Idaho Code).

S 1082aa – Requires a minor to get parental consent before obtaining a legal abortion.

S 1105 – Allows an unmarried dependent to remain on a parent’s health insurance policy until the age of 21, or until the age of 25 if the dependent is a full-time student.

S 1157aa – Restricts public benefits to illegal immigrants by requiring those over 18 to provide proof of legal presence in the United States before receiving public benefits, with some exceptions including emergency health care, prenatal and postnatal care and food assistance for a dependent child under 18 years of age.


H 106 – Codifies the Office of Drug Policy within the Office of the Governor, creating a single point of budget coordination and program direction for substance abuse programs utilizing state funds.

H 180 – Shifts $2 million a year in liquor proceeds from the general fund to expand drug and mental health courts.

H 315 – Appropriates $3,875,600 to fund expanded mental health and substance abuse programs.

S 1142 – Authorizes the courts to order comprehensive substance abuse assessments of juveniles and to order juveniles to receive substance abuse treatment.

S 1143 – Allows for ongoing substance abuse and mental health grants that can be used to establish community partnerships with local governments and local citizens.

S 1147 – Creates a three-year pilot project to establish a new model for providing Idaho school districts with clinically trained substance abuse and mental health counselors.

SCR 108 – Authorizes the Legislative Council to initiate an independent contract for the development of an implementation plan for the improvement of Idaho’s current mental health and substance abuse treatment delivery system.


H 22 – Increases the time to appeal property tax valuations from five to ten working days.

H 79aaS – Excludes from the new construction roll new construction located within a revenue allocation area until termination of the area.

H 81aaS – Raises the grocery tax credit for most Idahoans from $20 to $40 and from $35 to $60 for those aged 65 or over. Vetoed; overridden by the House, but not the Senate.

H 150 – Provides an additional 3% investment tax credit to Idaho retail fuel dealers or fuel distributors who invest in qualified fueling infrastructure projects dedicated to providing bio-fuels to customers.

H 181 – Lowers the maximum tax rate for community college districts from $160 to $125 per $100,000 of property value.

H 189 – Changes the method of taxation on producers of wind energy from a property tax to a tax on production.

H 210aa aa – Provides that, for school bond purposes, all property exempt from taxation may be included within the definition of "market value” for assessment purposes.

H 249aa – Gives to the receiving distributor responsibility for the tax liability for motor fuels, authorizes distributors to include an amount equal to the tax as part of the selling price, and provides the process for remittance of fuel tax when the distributor, retailer or consumer is exempt from the tax liability.

H 250 – Establishes a new method of financing transportation infrastructure utilizing a State Tax Anticipation Revenue (STAR) process which gives a sales tax rebate to a developer of a retail complex with stores selling tangible personal property or taxable services for project expenses incurred for transportation improvements.

S 1243 – Requires taxing districts to mail notices to property taxpayers within 14 days of holding an election to create a new taxing district and exempts notice by publication.


H 42 aaS – Authorizes the Idaho Department of Agriculture to administer the Rural Economic Development and Freight Transportation Act.

S 1119 – Extends from four to six months the period required for a supervised permit for drivers under 17 and limits the number of passengers for the first six months after licensing.

S 1138 – Adds to the list of special pilot project routes in southern Idaho designated for overweight vehicle loads of 129,000 lbs.

GARVEE Bonds: SB 1245 authorizes selling $250 million in bonds for the Connecting Idaho road-building program to fund six projects.


I hope to be able to provide all the folks in District 20 with information regarding what's happening in the state and around our great town of Meridian.

Check back often to see what's new or if you have questions about something in particular, please email me at mhagedorn@house.idaho.gov