Saturday, March 31, 2012

Enjoyed my coffee with Sen Winder this morning and then "honey-do's" around the house. Got the irrigation lines for the pond working agin and then welded up a shift lever on a buddy's motorcycle, it's good to get back to normalcy again...

Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Idaho Legislative session is complete, Sine Die. Thanks to the citizens of Dist 20 for allowing me to be your Representative in the House, it truly has been a whirlwind 6 years. Together we have accomplished some great things, I could not have done this without you great communications, understanding, patience and support. This session will end with us putting over $60m in rainy day savings, reduced taxes by over $35m and lived up tp our commitment of making teacher's salaries whole again... There were other accomplishments, too many to list now. It's time I give the Dog a bath and get to the overdue "Honey-Do" list...

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Final deals to finish the session falling in and out of favor. In the mix are Income tax reduction, Teacher salary backfil and savings...

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

"Forced Ultrasound Bill is Dead" Says Chairman...

We are in the final hours of the Idaho Legislative session, our Income Tax reduction bill is still in play in the Senate!

As committed, my bill to fix the flag protocol of the POW/MIA flag has passed. Now vets that have defended, fought for and died under the flag of this nation will determine the proper protocol for flying all flags over state lands (now to include memorials and cemeteries!). H443 has passed both houses and is headed to the Governor for signature.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Finally, someone is noticing that we've sent one of our Idaho Gems to Washington!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Thanks to the ID Charter School Network for their letter of appreciation recognizing my efforts to lift the caps on schools available in ID!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Long session on the Floor, we lost a constitutional amendment to require 2/3rds vote to increase taxes or fees, passed one that will be on the ballot on the Right to Fish and Hunt, diverted an anti-business bill to the amending order and passed a few budgets. Still awaiting action in the Senate on our Income Tax reduction bill...

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Had a good meeting this morning with Gov. Otter about overcoming the roadblocks for our ID Youth Challenge program... we have work to do.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The House just passed the S1274 Texting while driving bill:

Monday, March 19, 2012

Kicking out the bills today! From state budget growth caps, veteran's professional certifications, Drainage district assesment leveling, specialty plate sideboards to codifying the U of I Rangeland Center. Lots of budgets were also passed as we try to get closer to the end of the session by finishing what we were sent here to do...

Attended the Central Valley Expressway Coalition quarterly meeting at 7 am this morning to discuss Idaho transportation and economic concerns. What a great group of folks working on finding common solutions!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Not too surprised at the attempt of this story to paint this as a gender issue when only taking into account the number of employees a Director manages. Dan asked me for my input last week and I wrote him the following that wasn't included in his story:

I wasn't able to get to the file before I left work tonight and I don't know what your deadline is, but at first blush from your comments about the pay delta between the genders of our Directors, I would provide the following feedback:
Leading a department is not all about people (and, from your comments in the email, it appears that's your main metric for the pay delta)
-The size and complexity of the budget should be another consideration
-The complexity of the technicality of the department being led as well as it's mission should also be another consideration
-The requirements for managing external working relationships with both local and national partners is another consideration
-The availability of other leaders with the skill sets needed for that particular job and the competitive nature of salary considerations will also play into how much the State might have to pay to get that level of skill set required for the job at the time of hire.
-The complexities of Department of Transportation are vastly different then those of the Dept of Administration. Both have different challenges that I would expect we would have to pay their Directors according to those challenges, expectations and skills/experience one brings to the table.
Without looking at your file, for me, these would be just some of my first considerations when looking at the pay differentials before making a judgement on if there are some department heads or division heads under/over paid. The above list is only a minimum criteria that I would use when building a matrix to then plug in the salaries required for each position... only then would I consider looking to see if the person filling that role was a man or woman. In my mind, gender is not a consideration when hiring for any of the leadership positions that the State has... the skill set one brings to the table and the availability/value of that skill set for the task at hand is what I'm paying for.
I understand what you are looking for and would suggest that you also take some of these thoughts into consideration before pulling the trigger on what your thoughts might be based on salary vs. gender alone...
Hope this helps. Sorry I couldn't get back to you sooner, it's been a very long day.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Ran through a lot of bills on the House floor this morning, moving budgets, stopping bad bills forwarding the good... the end is near!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Sitting in for a couple of my colleagues in the morning at 8:30 am for a radio interview/update on the session:

Dissappointed that this report card came out the day after I tried to provide a cost effective capability to take care of our failing bridges in Idaho...

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

What a day! Got to run the House floor as Speaker this morning, not as easy as Speaker Denney makes it look! Passed the Veteran Services budget on the floor and then lost S1317 (adding bridges to the list of available GARVEE projects to fund). Did have a great meeting this morning before I got to the House with Star Mayor Nate Mitchell... good guy, Star is lucky to have him.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Tomorrow many of you will have the opportunity to vote on local school levies. Please educate yourself and get out and vote. If you are not sure where to vote, here's a link that lets you know if you are registered and where to vote:

Heard from Sen Jim Risch on the House floor this morning, he had a simple message: The Federal government spends ~$3.8 billion per year yet only brings in ~$2.2 billion and we borrow the rest. Until we cut the budgets and scope of the federal government, we are going the way of Greece or Italy and will need someone to bail us out. We are Americans, we are better than this!!!

Budgets set, no JFAC this morning... felt guilty not getting up at 5am. Full board of bills to debate on the House floor this morning!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Nice, relaxing weekend! Got some work caught up around the house, tax info put together for the accountant and just chilled with my sweetie

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Well, the final challenger list is out for the Senate seat in Dist 14. Looks like I have a boat load of challengers!

Friday, March 9, 2012

JFAC Committee again balanced Idaho's books by setting all budgets with a balance of ~$62m left over for savings/tax relief. This does not include the extra revenue we are seeing coming in (~$20m) or the $13.3m AG settlement due in this year!

Passed another Rubicon Jeep this morning on the way in at 0615 with his top off. I take mine off mid Apr, but with Boise at 65' today, it's tempting!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

ID House just passed H587 opening our boarders allowing business to shop for medical insurance nationwide!

Want to know how YOUR stimulus money was spent around the US? Thanks to Denny Knot for sending this to me:

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Just ran into AZ Gov. Jan Brewer getting a tour around our Capital by Gov. Otter. What a nice lady... and stands up for the right things!

Idaho State revenue up 21% over last year! ~$19m over forecast... some timing issues with income tax returns will lower that number slightly, but the trend is very good news for our state!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Passed Agriculture, Soil Commission, Gov's, Park & Rec, Lava Hot Springs and Legislative budgets out of committee this morning... Hit a lot of bills on the floor, then had a lunch meeting with Dan Harbeke from Union Pacific Railroad. UP has graciously given a grant 2 years in a row now to the Wyakin Warrior Foundation! They are great sponsors of a great cause...

Monday, March 5, 2012

Long day finished with an interesting meeting this evening on a method to self fund for large infrastructure projects like highways... then came home to walk the dog at 9:30 where it was still very comfortable outside. I think I needed a little walk too....

Passed this years Education and Corrections budgets out of JFAC this morning, they are on their way to the floor after some great debate...

Sunday, March 4, 2012

2.5 hr Wyakin BOD meeting tonight where we selected the 1st round of our 2012 class! Some great candidates, we had a tough time, but we've got the makings of a great Wyakin Warrior class to start at BSU or CWI in 2012!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Passed the Transportation budgets out of JFAC this morning and got the Vet Pref bill reprinted in Ways & Means. Start to a good day!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Proudly passed our Income Tax reduction bill on the House floor that reduces income taxes from 7.8%/7.6% to 7.4% (H563)!

S1317a bill Sen Winder and I have worked on to add bridge repairs/replacement to GARVEE projects passes Senate!

Included in a $39m Veteran's Services Div. budget is included some seed funding for a State Crisis Hotline