Thursday, January 15, 2009

IYCC Set Up Just In Time...

This just released today from the House Ways and Means Committee back in DC that outlines the stimulus provisions that fall under the jurisdiction of the committee:


High unemployment and rising costs have outpaced Americans’ paychecks. We will help workers train and find jobs, and help struggling families make ends meet.

Helping Workers Find Jobs

• Training and Employment Services: $4 billion for job training including formula grants for adult, dislocated worker, and youth services (including $1.2 billion to create up to one million summer jobs for youth). The needs of workers also will be met through dislocated worker national emergency grants, new competitive grants for worker training in high growth and emerging industry sectors (with priority consideration to “green” jobs and healthcare), and increased funds for the YouthBuild program. Green jobs training will include preparing workers for activities supported by other economic recovery funds, such as retrofitting of buildings, green construction, and the production of renewable electric power.

Let's get our kids outside this summer!

Will the New President Blink?...

Will Wolves in Idaho really be delisted?

The US Fish and Wildlife service released their news release yesterday and has submitted the documents with the new rules reflecting Wolf delisting to the Federal Register. Idaho, Montana and other states have worked hard for many years to follow the directions of the DOI to recover Wolves in our regions, just as we were "requested/required" to do by the USFWS.

One can question the introduction in the first place and how that happened, or question the way and reasons for the introduction and many other things... but at the end of the trail, we have met the conditions of delisting set by the feds by 5 times many years ago.

In fact, Idaho met the delisting requirements back in 2000 and now, for the second time, the USFWS will again be finally recognizing the successful recovery of the species... or are they?

I called the USFWS yesterday after the news release and found that by the time they submitted the documents outlining the new rules for delisting, it was reported back from the Federal Register that the publication date for those new rules would be Jan 27th. This was reportedly due to "the holiday shutdown" and the "inauguration shutdown" reducing the time needed to schedule the publication of the rules.

Why is Jan 27th an important date to Idaho? The decision to delist was made under the Bush Administration, but they will be gone and the new Obama Administration incoming on the 20th will assume the watch. It's typical for new administrations to put all new rules making on hold to ensure that the new rules are in step with the new administrations perspectives and directions.

Rules published in the Federal Register are typically effective 30 days from the date of publication, unless other timelines or dates are included within the publication. As of Jan 20th, the Obama Administration will have the ability to publish or not publish the new rules that have been submitted. They will also have the choice to hold the effective date, change the effective date or pull the delisting rules all together.

Will the new President surcome to groups like the Defenders of Wildlife (who, by the way, helped formulate the federally approved Idaho Wolf management plan) threats to sue or stop the delisting by any means or will the Obama administration finally recognize the success of the recovery and allow the states to manage our wildlife as agreed many years ago?

We will know on Jan 27th if the new rules are printed in the Federal Register or not... a keystone date for Idaho wildlife management decisions. If they are not printed, the Obama administration will have blinked and have left Idaho citizens once again pondering why we are on the receiving end of badly played wildlife politics.

What do you think? Will we see Wolves delisted or not?

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Being Part of a Solution...

It is that time of year again where it seems much easier to talk down ideas and solutions without coming to the table with ideas to resolve issues at the same time.

"Potholes over people"... I wonder how many meetings it took to come up with that slogan? Playing defense has become a way of life for the Democrats in the legislature where throwing up roadblocks seems to be the strategy of the day.

Only when pressed does it seem that they will unite to offer alternative solutions to bills already on the table. As an example, last session where 5 of us Republicans on the Transportation committee worked weeks on end to find ways to fund our transportation shortfalls. When the bills made it to committee, the usual road blocks were thrown down, I challenged the blockers by suggesting they also had equal opportunity to offer their own solutions.

I was pleased that a group of Democrats from the committee took some time to put some alternative methods of funding bills together... new ideas and ways to get there is what we needed to see, it added to the choice of options for us all last year. That's how the system should work, not continuing to just throw out roadblocks to what's offered by the Republicans. This is not an "us against them" situation, Idaho citizens expect more from us than that, they want solutions to their issues, not catchy phrases.

Many of us would much rather see ideas offered as solutions to budget and road issues. Drawing more out of our rainy day funds is a no-brainer, but we can't spend all of our savings at seeing the first drop of rain... you don't do that at home, we won't do that with the state savings either, it's past time to tighten the belts of state government. I have heard many creative solutions from our department heads in finding great and unique ways to do more with less. Had we not had a downturn, would we have seen these types of innovative efforts? I think not likely...

Being part of the solution is what the people of Idaho expect of us, but I guess it's easier to add to the problem by just opening your mouth and letting catchy slogans and empty words fall out... but that doesn't solve any of the issues facing our citizens.