Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Attended a fundraiser at Homedale Sporting Clays Friday morning before our Off-Highway Vehicle Task Force. We've made some good progress in trying to simplify trail maintenance stickers for OHVs vs. full registrations. Also learned yesterday many people don't know that with a "Restricted Use" OHV plate, you can drive your OHV (ATV, UTV, Motorbike) on all streets NOT specifically closed by a public meeting of your city, county, BLM or Forest Service. You can not drive a Restricted Use plated vehicle on State Highways or Freeways. (This was done by H602 in 2008)

Saturday, July 13, 2013

MO just passed a bill to make teaching gun safety optional in schools, I'd like to make it mandatory in Idaho, thoughts?bit.ly/UdonaX

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Thanks to Russ Duke, Dir of Central District Health, for meeting with me today. I now have a much better understanding of the District's funding mechanisms and contractual relationships with Health and Welfare and DEQ for the services they provide. If only we could get the good parts of WIC and SNAP programs (Cards from SNAP and types of food purchase limits from WIC, both run by the Federal Dept. of Ag) we would end up with a very trackable program that would help get people healthier and ensure proper food is being purchased with the SNAP cards. (SNAP = Foodstamps)

I've been asked by a number of Meridian folks about the issue of the Meridian Animal Shelter, here's a great update: bit.ly/1arahwW

Monday, July 8, 2013

An excellent read about leadership, types of "power" and the privilege to lead, worth 3 min of your time! onforb.es/14kRNqL

Friday, July 5, 2013

Honored to speek today to many forgotten war heroes of the Vietnam Helo Pilot's Association at their annual reunion. We can't let what happened to them happen again, they didn't get the thanks or attention they needed when transitioning "back home"... If you see someone who served in Vietnam, please thank them for their service! chumly.com/attachment/13178788

Thursday, July 4, 2013

No matter our faults or issues, America is still the greatest, most generous nation the world has ever seen. We must always focus on making it even better and not tearing her down. Happy Independence Day to all that keep her safe and enjoy her fruits of freedom!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Happy birthday Idaho! 123 years young today... Esto Perpetua! The words are traced back to the Venetian theologian and mathematician Paolo Sarpi (1552-1623), also known as Fra Paolo. The day before his death he had dictated three replies to questions on affairs of state, and his last words were "Esto perpetua" reportedly in reference to his beloved Venice and translated as "Mayest thou endure forever!" When the designer of the Idaho state seal Emma Edwards Green described the motto on the seal, she translated it as "It is perpetuated" or "It is forever".

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Too many have forgotten why we celebrate "July 4th", who's got the best plans for celebrating our upcoming "Independence Day"?

Thursday, June 27, 2013

The US is the world's most powerful country, but we certainly don't act like it in influencing positive change in other parts of the globe. Case in point is how China and Russia play with POTUS like a cat does with a mouse before it... well you get my point. It truly saddened me to hear Putin say yesterday "Dealing with the US is like shearing a pig, lot's of squealing but no wool"... How has our countries credibility and respect fallen so far?

Thanks all for your kind words & thoughts. Patty & I are slowly recovering and now on a diet of Imodium, Pepto and Pedialyte. No more "gas station sushi" for us! LOL

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Lt Gov Little and Sen. Winder did a good job at the Central Valley Expressway meeting this morning talking about where we are with concerns over road funding and infrastructure. Then spent some quality time at the Boise City Club listening and talking to Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, regarding US immigration reform (which he supports). He had some very interesting and valid points. My favorite was regarding the 4 million coming into this country every year that don't know English, pay taxes or obey our laws!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Happy birthday to the greatest mentor I've ever had, Dad is 82 today and still helping people achieve their best. Love you Dad, Happy B-day!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Had some good meetings today regarding behavior health issues and coordination between the State and the VA, it's nice to work with individuals that understand these needs. Some great momentum regarding an overall State strategy in attracting and providing for the needs of returning veterans and their families in the Governor's office as well...

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Completed another volunteer orientation for WyWF Academy for Wounded Warriors last evening, we have some great volunteers and a wonderful volunteer coordinator, JoAnn Daron! She juggles many assets trying to keep them focused on helping the students, operations, fundraising and networking... thanks JoAnn for putting on these excellent monthly orientations!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

I'm very proud of my kids, love and miss them very much, but giving me a Father's subscription to "Bacon of the Month" club... over the top!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Spent many hours yesterday with like minded folks from all over the state working on how to effectively/efficiently register boats, off-road ATV/UTV/Motorcycles while meeting State and Federal code requirements while getting maximum registration funds on the ground for the users benefit. This was our second task force meeting and we are hoping to have some solutions by the end of July. Thanks to all who attended and IDPR for hosting these meetings!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Yesterday Josh Barnes, one of our legally blind warriors, gave me a drawing that he did on his iPad using his peripheral vision... it's all he has. It is a drawing of the first 2 classes of students in our WyWF Academy. I am humbled to see how these men and women challenge their challenges and learn they are not victims, but people with lives to live to their fullest. Thank you Josh for your inspiration to us all...


Wednesday, June 12, 2013

A local company, Bell-Anderson, are having a grand opening with a raffle for the Wyakin Warrior Foundation. Please drop by if you can!


Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Good meetings this week starting on Sunday in N. Idaho with the Idaho Assoc. of Commerce and Industry. Had the opportunity to discuss many ideas with top business leaders from all over our state, great job to the IACI staff in putting on a great conference!

Meridian is blessed with some very fine parks, here is a quick link to find one that's right for you: bit.ly/15V8bPN

Thursday, June 6, 2013

So do terrorists only use Verizon for comms or was that just the only TS court order leaked?

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

We are selling our starter home in Meridian, great home if someone is looking! For Sale By Owner: bit.ly/11lxsyZ

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

We will have 300,000 active duty service members "coming home" every year for the next 5 years... This story describes who they are, will your community be ready for them? "That is the kind of people who are on watch all over the world tonight—for you...." bit.ly/15yi9Gz

Help support this years Veteran's Day Parade where the Wyakin Warriors will be this years Grand Marshall! bit.ly/10WbKlx

Monday, June 3, 2013

Spent a couple of hours today with the Idaho Voices for Children discussing various bills last session focused on our kids, their education and safety. Then on to yard at home.... How can such a small dog leave so many messes? The life of a citizen legislator... Lol!

How can our federal government continue to accept this situation? Please call or write your Senator/Congressman! bit.ly/10ItwvC

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Remiss in posting my Friday activities: Spent some quality time with the Idaho Associated General Contractors listening to many concerns and suggestions about State infrastructure needs, then a nice dinner with the Idaho Association of Chiropractic Professionals discussing how they can best impact legislative decision making. We might have opportunities to reduce healthcare costs by using this service more than we currently do...

Thursday, May 30, 2013

(Note to self, 7 am interviews are not my best)... We had a great induction ceremony today bringing in 13 new Wyakin Academy Students into our program, congrats to all of them, now get ready to hit the deck running! bit.ly/18ztafg

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

I still surprises me how many in the Treasure Valley don't know about the Wyakin's Wounded Warrior Academy, thanks goes out to the Nampa Lion's Club for bringing our team in to describe and answer questions about this wonderful program. The Governor will be with us inducting 13 more students into the program this Thursday at 10:30 am on the Capital steps... it's a great opportunity to meet all of our Wyakin Warriors, everyone is invited!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Thanks to the Potlatch VFW for putting on such a great Memorial Day ceremony. Honoring the sacrifices of our fallen veterans, and their families, to ensure the continued freedoms enjoyed by the citizens of this nation is the least we can do for them. Potlatch has created a wonderful memorial for those veterans of the past as well as those serving today. They also have, what must the the largest flag and flagpole North of Boise's Simplot hill in Idaho. They have created a wonderful community... thank you for the privilege of speaking today.


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

I was very moved this evening to view a screening of "Keeping the Promise Alive" about a Korean War POW who was held in a Russian POW camp and is still MIA. His Brother and Wife were at the screening and have been working for years to get answers to what happened to him. Take a look at this website that explains the issues surrounding quite a number of American POWs from the Korean War still unaccounted for. Something is not passing the smell test in DC, we don't leave our warriors to fend for themselves! www.keepingthepromisealive.com

Even as our kids finish up their school year, many of us are still focused on school safety over the summer: bit.ly/10moCkC

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

[Resent id=29973901 2013-05-21 23:27:13 from marvhagedorn] I'm excited to be the guest speaker next Monday at the Potlatch Memorial Day event at their Scenic 6 Park, hope to see many of you there!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

It's a behavioral issue, not a high capacity or gun issue... this is pretty powerful:


Sadly, this Idaho businessman is only the tip of the IRS iceberg: herit.ag/14nzHoh

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Cabinet meetings are used by good leaders/managers to coordinate department's efforts in making positive movement in goals and objectives AND to avoid surprises, maybe POTUS should give that a shot?

Monday, May 13, 2013

This is pretty cool, 4 chicks today... pretty windy in the nest tonight! bit.ly/13VuKDE

This is a great event that raises money for gun education and safety. Join me in supporting the Friends of the Idaho NRA...


Sunday, May 5, 2013

My Son left this morning for 3 more months of analysis training in VA Beach for the Navy... gonna miss him around here.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

There seems to be a great deal of confusion over the education standards called "common core". There are UN standards and State standards both commonly called the same. See what Idaho Education Task Force is reviewing and what the Dept. of Ed. is working on implementing. Learn where those standards for educating our kids were developed and what they are all about here: www.sde.idaho.gov/site/common

Friday, April 26, 2013

Veterans are a large part of our communities now and we are looking at ~200,000 "coming home" to the nation every year. Idaho has one of the highest ratios of veteran/population in the nation, we continuously need to be focusing on their successful transition. Veteran unemployment rates are 2-3% higher than the private sector, wounded vets unemployment is well over 20%... they've served and sacrificed, now it our turn to open our doors and welcome them home. They have proven their reliability, initiative and flexibility... it's up to our communities to recognize and find ways to leverage the positive characteristics of those "coming home". Let's do it! www.servingourvets.org/is-there-a-veteran-in-your-...nt-10

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

What's a hack worth? Imagine if the AP, CNN, Fox, NPR and other media Twitter accounts were hacked at the same time with the same bad news story? Knowing now that the market would react, could the evil doer make millions by placing immediate Puts just before the hack? Social media can only be "so" trustworthy... What other similar problems could be caused by the same method, distrust in our government or a major company? This has bigger implications than one might think at first glance. cnnmon.ie/11zzZYX

The Idaho Legislative Sine Die report is online. See the bills we passed and how your tax Dollars were spent: bit.ly/ZNealA

Monday, April 22, 2013

While at the VA today getting blood work done, I saw a lot of WWII, Korean and Vietnam Vets that sure could have used our program when they came home. The Wyakin Warrior Foundation runs our Wounded Warrior Academy and we will be inducting 14 more students into the program next month helping them transition from the military to the private sector. Here is a great article recently done on the program: bit.ly/15BTd4f

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Been a busy week! Meetings with Wyakin, ITD and ID Parks and Rec. Also mucked out the pond and filter, rebuilt the falls, fixed the fence and did yard work... then rewired the shed at the rental to get it ready to sell in May. Went to the, as many call it, "Garagemahaul" in Marsing and got Rubi dressed for summer today (pic attached). The best part of being in a Citizen Legislature is the "citizen" part, love getting back into the groove of home and Wyakin Warrior stuff!


Tuesday, April 16, 2013

George Nickel is one of our very successful Wyakin Warriors, he is well on his way to a degree in Social work as a student in our Wounded Warrior Academy... And a success story of how this community reaches out to those that are troubled. I'm humbled to know people like George, and Chief Masterson, and how he has turned his life around and is now giving back in such great ways. YOU-DA-MAN George! bit.ly/14twyYe

The greatest play in Baseball history, if you haven't seen it, you should:


Idaho gets great scores for being business friendly. To my friends in CA, NY and others, you can increase your net margins here! www.thumbtack.com/id/#2013/state

Monday, April 15, 2013

Two explosions at the finish of the Boston Marathon. Source yet to be determined... How sad.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Finished paying my taxes yesterday and now focusing on the Wyakin Warrior Foundation and getting back in that grove. Today I attended a demonstration by one of our blind Warriors about a team he is setting up for competition in a "Goal Ball" league. I can't tell you how proud I am of Colby and his wife Kaylee. He came to us in very bad shape, depressed, overweight and sick to the point we had to put his education on hold until he got himself better and to a point he could go back into school. His mentors, family and our Academy team helped him get it back together. He's now getting great grades in school, running, mountain biking and playing Goal Ball. Today, I witnessed him confidently standing and speaking in front of a crowd of folks from the National Federation for the Blind describing his efforts of starting this Goal Ball team for the blind in the Treasure Valley to compete against other teams in the NW. I would have never thought he could have come so far from a year ago, congrats to Colby and his wonderful wife, Kaylee, for challenging life instead of being challenged by it.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

I don't think I've posted about the remainder of bills I either did:

S1081: Allows ITD to sell a 1 year trailer plate to a manuf. of that trailer on an MSO (with discount to the end buyer for an Idaho permanent plate once a title is created). The program we started a few years ago is now bringing in over $500k per year and this change should significantly increase that number.

S1045: We redefined what a "veteran" is for State hiring practices. Now service on active duty of 180 days or more with an honorable discharge will qualify you for more points on the state exam. (we also defined what "Active duty" means as well!). Veteran unemployment is now at least 3% higher than the unemployment rates that are posted weekly by the Feds and monthly by the State.

S1044: We redefined what a motorcycle is to include an add-on kit for stabilization wheels (4 wheels vs. 3). This will allow Idaho businesses to now sell and install these kits as well as remove the barriers for those with the kits on their bikes to visit Idaho.

S1043: Makes available a veteran's status marking on an Idaho drivers license at no cost to the veteran. Not required, but if a veteran wants his status known on their DL, that will now be available.

H125: With over $300m of personal assets of disabled adults now under management of a Guardian/Conservator, the Judges that appoint them asked that a background check be mandatory so they have more information on a person that they appoint to manage those assets for the adults that are unable to manage them. This bill requires that check, but does not disqualify anyone for anything. That decision is still left up to the Judge in the case.

It was a productive year, I started or helped start 12 bills with 6 becoming law. Working them through both legislative bodies and the Gov's office, while engaging with all the stakeholders, is very time consuming. Without the help of my intern, Dave Johnston, I could not have completed all these. First year in the Senate has taught me that I don't have nearly as much time to work bills as I did in the House, expect fewer bills next year!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Very interesting meeting this morning about defining in code an "Idaho Citizen". I "assumed" it was already defined! List started for '14!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The Wyakin Warrior Foundation (WyWF) could use your help! Would you go to the attached link to the Jimmy Johnson Foundation and submit WyWF as a non-profit that deserves $10k? The WyWF is ranked as "Best in Class" by the USO as the most comprehensive, education and transitional program in the nation for our wounded warriors returning to the private sector. We have 100% retention and 100% graduation rates (compared to the national average of only 20%). Forward this on, ask you friends and family to submit a nomination. The Jimmie Johnson Foundation was extremely impressed with WyWF efforts but was not accepting new partnerships this year. They called and recommended we get as many submissions to this program as possible. bit.ly/149L1bz

Monday, April 8, 2013

My friend, Mary May, brought Ms Emma from Eagle to the last day of the session. Ms Emma might be legally blind, but she's a mover and a shaker in Eagle! She organizes her own blind group to take on a worthy cause most every month, always is busy at the Senior center and keeps me in line! For my Navy family, in her younger days, she soldered the tubes on KW-37 cards for the orig. manufacturer near Ft. Meade. She is a sweet lady and had a grand time learning how the Idaho Legislature does Sine Die, she even met the Governor!


Thanks to Gov. Otter for signing H222. This bill will create ongoing funds to take care of veterans returning home with a priority on disabled vets. We will be able to focus on things like homelessness, special housing needs, re-education needs and more. We will take the interest off of $20 million gained from funding provided by the VA and dedicate that every year. Rep. Eskridge, Mr. Matt Ellsworth and I put this together, likely one of the most important bills I've ever been able to do!


Friday, April 5, 2013

The attached link provides connection to a PDF file of key legislative actions for this session, it's a great summary:bit.ly/10CHlJf

The final Idaho numbers are in, here's the link to the pie charts that show where your tax Dollars are being spent: bit.ly/YAs919

Thursday, April 4, 2013

We've finished the Idaho Senate session for this year, I will post soon accomplishments and failures to be tackled next year. Now off to...?

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

We've fixed the Education policy that drives a fair budget to take care of students and Teachers, we should finish up for the year tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The Senate passed House Concurrent Resolution 21. This resolution sets up an interim legislative study committee to examine how the state can assume management of federal lands. Following this action the Senate passed HCR 22 which demands the federal government transfer title to all federal lands, outside of the Wilderness lands, in Idaho to the state. We need a phase in plan of action (that HCR 21 sets up) to ensure a smooth transition happens for both parties. Although I thought we could, I've not been able to break loose H219 or S1099 (gun bills) due to some issues created out of my hands. Senate leadership, including the State Affairs Chairman, as well as the Gov. Otter's office is committed to work with us over the summer on legislation for next session to ensure that our 2nd Amendment rights are fully protected (beyond our Idaho Constitution) . Bills can be found here: legislature.idaho.gov/legislation/2013/minidata.ht...a.htm

Monday, April 1, 2013

Wow, what will the come up with next? Washington is broke(n).... bit.ly/WyENsY

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Easter!
Patty and I hope you enjoy the day with family and friends...


Thursday, March 28, 2013

Was honored today to accompany Gov Otter to Idaho Falls for a wonderful tribute to veterans at the Elks Lodge, what a crowd supporting vets!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Very happy to report the final Legislative passage of H222. This bill sets aside $20m in a better interest bearing account, where that interest will be used annually for veterans transition programs when from the military to the private sector with a priority to our wounded heroes. Homeless vets, vets in need of special housing, re-education assistance, Veterans Home upgrades and more will now have a long term funding source to help those coming home or struggling after they return. Thanks to my friends and partners, Rep. George Eskridge and Matt Ellsworth in JFAC/LSO for helping put this together and driving it home. Now, to the Governor for a final signature!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Today the language for a proper state wide school security program defined in S1133 was stripped out of the bill and replaced with language not associated with ensuring safe and secure schools for our kids and the staff that educates them. I need your help in contacting the Idaho House members and asking them to normalize the bill with the amended language that has been agreed upon by everyone in the security working group involved.

Our Idaho kids, their parents and the educational staff all lost today with this action. It saddens me when the Idaho Legislature acts like the U.S. Congress we have worked so hard to not become.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Interesting day, moved H222 from the State Affairs committee to the floor (Veteran Recognition Fund) and worked a lot of bills on the Senate floor... we are getting closer to being done this year! Then got a phone call from a gent named Jeffery Martin in N. ID threatening to sue me for all my earthly belongings if I didn't vote the way he wanted me to... he's seems convinced I've somehow been bought, so to get his way, he plans to sue me... would that qualify as an oxymoron?

Saturday, March 23, 2013

End of Week Update for the Legislature:
On Monday the Senate passed HB 214 which amends and strengthens Idaho’s paternity statutes. The legislation is intended to make sure that at the end of an adoption all parties can feel contentment and a sense of peace. The Senate Education Committee had a busy afternoon passing a slate of bills: H 206, H 221, H205 and S 1148. All of these bills were sent to the amending order on the Senate calendar.
Tuesday, the Senate Commerce Committee heard public testimony on HB 248 (the House bill on the state exchange). After public testimony the bill passed the Committee on an 8-1 vote. Much of the debate against was more against Obamacare vs. the choice of a State or Federal Healthcare Exchange in Idaho. The bill went to the floor of the Senate for debate. The full Senate passed S 1136. This bill bans the formula of two new forms of synthetic cannabis and aims to keep Idaho’s citizens safe from harmful substances.
Wednesday morning the State Affairs Committee heard testimony on the"Add the Words” legislation. This legislation would ban workplace and housing discrimination based on sexual orientation. The actual legislation is not going to come up this session. The Senate unanimously passed House Concurrent Resolution 019. HCR 019 is intended to showcase the problem of physical inactivity and poor eating habits and increase awareness of the role of nutrition and physical activity in a healthy lifestyle. This HCR will also aid in writing and securing grants and foundation dollars for needed projects, interventions and research to improve the health and reduce healthcare costs for citizens in Idaho. Later in the evening the Senate voted on several amendments relating to education bills HB 206, HB 221, SB 1147 and SB 1148. The bills will be amended and returned to the reading order to be voted on at a later date.
Thursday, the Senate took up HB 248 (state exchange). After meaningful 3+ hours of debate and conversation the bill passed and has been sent to the Governor.
 I voted for this bill as I believe an Idaho, non-profit, exchange can/will protect the Idaho citizens and businesses that end up using the exchange until the ACA is eliminated or modified to focus more on the delivery COSTS of healthcare instead of what we are paying for it through insurance (the PRICE).
Friday, the Senate passed SB 1149. SB 1149 would require that both School Boards and Teacher's unions show good faith in school contract negotiations by proving they have majority support of their members. The Health and Welfare committee had a joint Senate and House session to review the department and Governor's recommendation to expand Medicaid. It pencils out over a 10 year period and would do away with the Catastrophic Care Fund and potentially lower county property taxes and payments for indigent healthcare now paid for by both the State and Counties. The concern I have is that the analysis of that 10 years is based upon the federal government payments for Medicaid to remain flat. I have concerns that the feds can't continue to borrow 40% of what we are now being paid for Medicaid, that must come to an end soon. If that happens in the next 10 years, as I suspect it must, I am concerned that expanding Medicaid will still pencil out in the State's favor.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Senate Local Gov&Tax Committee passed H315 which would give Personal Property tax relief to 89% of small businesses in Idaho...

Monday, March 18, 2013

I've had a number of questions on Idaho's Common Core education standards. I have received this from our State Department of Education to try to clarify some miss information that seems to have been going around:

Idaho chose to adopt in 2011 and are now known as the Idaho Core Standards. We have received several e-mails about his comments this morning, and I wanted to send you information to help answer some of the questions you may be receiving.

Q: Is the federal government requiring Idaho to adopt these standards?
A: No! Idaho voluntarily chose to adopt these standards in 2011. These standards were developed through a state-led effort. The federal government has not been involved in the process of developing or implementing these standards. In 2009, Superintendent Luna worked with a few other state superintendents to take a look at the academic standards in mathematics and English language arts. In Idaho, we face a challenge in which students do well academically while in grades K-12 but far too often graduate from high school unprepared for the rigors of college, professional-technical education or the workforce. Many other states are facing this same challenge. Therefore, Superintendent Luna decided to collaborate with other states in a state-led effort to develop higher, more rigorous standards in mathematics and English language arts. This process became known as the Common Core State Standards Initiative. They relied on experts in these academic fields as well as educators in all of the participating states to help develop these standards over the course of a year. In 2010, the standards were published. Each state then had the opportunity to review these standards and choose whether or not to adopt them.

Forty-five states have voluntarily chosen to adopt these standards in some form. Some states have added more standards onto the ones developed through the state-led effort. Others have chosen only to adopt either the mathematics or the English language arts portion. It is up to each state to decide. The state has not adopted a curriculum to go with these standards. These standards only set goals for what each child should know and be able to do by the end of each grade level. Each local school district or public charter school will determine the best curriculum and lesson plans to teach these standards to the students in their community.

Q: Did states follow the same process in adopting these standards or did they follow a new process?
A: In Idaho, we followed the same process we follow every five years in as we review academic standards in every content area and decide whether or not to adopt new standards. We brought in Idaho teachers to review these new, more rigorous standards in mathematics and English language arts. Idaho’s colleges and universities also weighed in, telling us that students will be ready for postsecondary education if they master these standards. We also asked the business community in Idaho to take a look at these standards during the review process. Based on all of this input, the Idaho State Board of Education chose to adopt these standards as Idaho’s new content standards in mathematics and English language arts in 2010. The Idaho Legislature adopted these standards as our new state standards in 2011. They are now known as the Idaho’s Core Standards in mathematics and English language arts.

Q: Are these standards lower than the standards the state had in the past or will they"dumb down” our schools?
A: No, absolutely not! The state specifically worked toward these new standards because they are higher and more rigorous than Idaho’s previous standards. Our colleges and universities as well as the business community have told us that students who graduate with mastery in these standards will be prepared for the rigors of postsecondary and the workforce. This is something we have been working toward for years. In addition, these standards are comparable with the standards of any other country in the world. You don’t have to take my word for it. Ask Idaho’s teachers. They will tell you. Here are clips of Idaho teachers saying just that: www.sde.idaho.gov/site/common/tips_advice.htm.

Q: Do these standards encourage teachers to teach math in a new and"untested way”?
A: No! In fact, one reason Idaho chose to adopt these standards is because the mathematics standards are aligned with the Idaho Math Initiative, an effort that began in 2008 to improve student achievement in mathematics across the state. Research has shown that teachers who have taken the Mathematical Thinking for Instruction course through the Idaho Math Initiative and applied these methods in their classrooms see better student achievement results in mathematics.

Q: Will these new standards de-emphasize literature, like Huckleberry Finn, or historical texts.
A: No, these standards make sure students in public high schools receive a well-rounded education in learning both literary texts as well as informational texts. The business community in Idaho and across the country has told us that students need to be prepared to read, write and analyze informational texts before they graduate from high school. We know this is a critical skill in any career or workplace. The standards also include literacy standards for history and other subject areas to make sure historical texts are incorporated throughout a student’s education.

Q: Will the federal government take ownership of these standards in the future?
A: No. This Initiative was and will remain a state-led effort. Just like the standards we had in place before we adopted these, the federal government has never reviewed or approved state standards, and they have not reviewed or approved these. These are Idaho standards. If the federal government ever tries to approve or regulate these, no one will fight harder than we will in opposition.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Yet we've taken it away from vets returning to the private sector... bit.ly/YEM8Kr

End of Week Update for the Legislature:
On Monday the Senate passed SB 1108 which would allow rural communities to have more of a say in the initiative process by requiring that 6% of registered voters in 18 of 35 legislative districts signal their support for the initiative to make the ballot. In the Education Committee testimony was heard on H 206, 221, and 224 regarding funding, renewals and contracts for charter schools.
Tuesday, the Senate passed SB 1079 which creates an Internet Crimes against Children Unit within the Office of the Attorney General. The creation of this unit would allow for the additional hiring of staff needed to aid in investigating and prosecuting those who use the Internet and technology to exploit children. The ICACU would partner with local and state law enforcement agencies to pursue the prevention of sexual exploitation of Idaho’s children. In the Senate Commerce Committee"opportunity grants” were unanimously supported. These grants would provide aid to local communities to attract and keep new businesses.
On Wednesday the Senate passed SCR 124 which asking the federal government to cleanup networks of trails damaged by years of wildfire. The Frank-Church–River of No Return Wilderness area would be designated a natural disaster area allowing for its cleanup by the US Forest Service. The move ensures Idaho taxpayers are not responsible for paying for land the federal government should be taking care of. The Senate also passed HB 159 which would allow the Nez Perce Convention Center to receive a liquor license. This would promote economic activity in the area and create new jobs.
Thursday, the Senate and Judiciary Rules Committee unanimously voted to add two version of synthetic marijuana,"spice,” to the state’s list of banned substances. The additions now allow law enforcement and local police agencies to crack down on its distribution.
Friday, the Senate had the honor to unanimously pass SCR 124, a Senate Concurrent Resolution that honored five fallen Idaho servicemen. The five fallen servicemen who gave their lives in the service of their country in 2012 were: U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Daniel J. Brown, 27; U.S. Army Sergeant Chris J. Workman, 33; U.S. Army Private First Class Cody O. Moosman, 24; U.S. Army Specialist Ethan J. Martin, 22 and U.S. Army Private First Class Shane G. Wilson, 20.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

FYI, here’s an updated summary of Gun Bills that appear to still have some legs now in the Idaho Senate and House:

• Senate Bill 1099: Idaho is home to some of the world’s premiere weapons manufacturers. Evidence shows that 50% of hearing damage in Idaho is caused by improperly protected ears during shooting. Unfortunately, due to federal regulations, many Idahoans do not have access to the tools to protect their ears from this damage. Senate Bill 1099 would eliminate the $200 registration fee to buy a suppressor as long as its only used in Idaho. This would eliminate a major fiscal hurdle for lower to middle income firearms owners who want to acquire suppressors but cannot afford the fee to own the item. The bill is currently held in the Senate State Affairs Committee pending 9th Dist. Court decisions on related language now in law, not likely to move this session.

• House Bill 258: This bill will allow anyone who applies for and pays fees for a Concealed Weapons Permit, to then make formal request for a copy of their Criminal History check which would have been completed as part of the package. The copy of the background check will be provided at no additional cost, still in the House.

• House Bill 219: This bill would keep Idaho’s law enforcement officials from being directed, through federal law or rules, to violate their oath of office and the Constitutional Rights of Idahoans. This provision would disallow the confiscation of firearms except those actually used in the commission of a felony or crime. The bill recently passed the House and is being sent to the Senate for approval.

• House Bill 192: This legislation would allow for the creation of an enhanced concealed carry weapons permit requiring additional training from a certified instructor. This supplementary license will allow for Idahoans concealed carry permits to be recognized in many other states. It also cleans up some language regarding re-issue of a CWP that now closes the re-issue period from"forever” to within 180 days of expiration. This bill has passed the House and has been referred to the Senate State Affairs Committee.

• House Bill 183: A clean up bill from S1441 of a few years ago, this bill would limit the ability for any city or municipality to regulate, prevent or punish individuals for having a concealed carry permit. This bill would protect Idahoans’ right to legally carry firearms if they have a concealed weapons permit. The bill has passed the House and has been referred to the Senate State Affairs Committee.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Spent a long day driving to and back from N. Idaho for a funeral with my family. Thanks to the Pro-Tem for the excused absence today, back at it at zero dark thirty tomorrow...

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power. ~ Abraham Lincoln

End of Week Update for the Legislature:
On Monday the Senate passed HCR 5; this resolution supports renaming the Capitol Auditorium the"Abraham Lincoln Auditorium. The move honors one of America’s greatest Presidents and marks the sesquicentennial territorial celebration for Idaho. Idaho’s Senators and Governor attended the festivities and Governor Otter spoke, stating"Idaho’s people are no different today than they were in 1863. They had then and we have now an obligation to be the architects of our own destiny.” The creation of the Idaho Territory was a critical strategic move on Pres. Lincoln's part to block slavery moving into the West, while being able to leverage the gold and silver from the Gem State to pay for soldiers, arms and ammunition to win the civil war. Earlier in the morning JFAC set the teachers division and operating divisions for Idaho’s public education budget.
Wednesday was a very busy day in the Legislature. JFAC set the budgets for the Department of Administration, the State Department of Corrections and the Permanent Building Fund. In State Affairs legislators approved SB 1108 which would ensure that a greater geographic distribution of votes by legislative districts would be required to have an initiative qualify for the ballot. This would allow rural voters to have a greater say in the process while not disenfranchising urban voters. SB 1117 passed the full Senate. The bill would allow state and local roadway managers to allow extra-heavy trucks to traverse Idaho roads. This would allow businesses to ship goods more efficiently and save money to hire more employees.
On Thursday the Senate passed SB 1078 which prohibits Idaho public postsecondary educational institutions from discriminating against a religious student group based on the religious student group's requirement that its leaders adhere to its sincerely held religious. The law protects the rights of religious student groups to choose their members and preserves their 1st Amendment’s right to freedom of religion.
Friday morning JFAC set Idaho’s budget at $2.783 billion. The budget is a 3% increase from last year and accounts for increased demand for public services and providing additional support to education. Over the next month JFAC will work with the Legislative Services Office to set individual agencies budgets and provide agencies with the resources and flexibility they need to help keep Idaho thriving. Idaho Senators also had the chance to chat with the newest Idaho State Police graduating class. These brave men and women put their lives on the line to serve Idaho’s citizens and we should all be grateful they do.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

My buddy Rick Largent passed on today, we grew up together and experienced a lot of life together when we were younger. I loved him like my brother and will miss him dearly. My thoughts have been with Terry, Nancy, Sharon and John all day today as I know the family is suffering his loss even more. Rest in peace my friend, give your Mom a hug for me...
If someone enriched your life, enrich theirs in return by letting them know while you still can...

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

No one lives forever. When Hugo, Hugo!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Happy B-day to my first love, Idaho. This beautiful lady is 150 years old today and continues to fulfill the needs and provide security to those of us who still love and protect her.

The capital in politics is trust... If you don't have it, you will have little influence in policy making.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

End of Week Update for the Legislature (March 1, 2013)
On Monday the Senate voted overwhelmingly to support SCR 112. The Senate Concurrent Resolution states that the chamber does not support marijuana use in any form. A Concurrent Resolution does not have the force of law but is simply a statement of support. Later in the session the chamber voted to support Idaho’s"primacy” declaration through SB 1061. The bill states that it is against state policy for any threatened or endangered species to be introduced in the state without Idaho’s approval. This action ensures Idaho is exercising its sovereign rights under the 10th Amendment to manage its wildlife.
The Senate passed HCR 4 on Tuesday, honoring two-time Olympic Gold Medalist Kristin Armstrong for her achievements not just in sports, but also for being a positive role model for Idaho’s youth. The Chamber also approved SB 1100 which would define Health Care Sharing Ministries as exempt from being labeled an insurance company. A HCSM is a purely voluntary Healthcare cost-sharing agreement between individuals who share the same beliefs. It is administered by a non-profit organization and offers a unique way to lower Healthcare costs into the future. Lastly, the Senate approved HB 29 which approves funding for three more district court justices, one each in Ada, Jefferson and Canyon Counties. This will help fulfill a"Continual obligation that we share with the 3rd branch of government, and that obligation is to provide access to justice for every person through timely, fair and impartial resolution of cases,” said Senator Patti Anne Lodge.
On Wednesday the Sen. State Affairs printed a constitutional amendment that would eliminate gender and age for state run militia members. The militia is recognized both by the state and the feds as an organization controlled solely by states (not under the auspice of the federal government.). By eliminating age and gender, most Idahoans can be members of the militia, and as such members could bear arms and not be subject to federal regulation. This bill will not be heard until next year. As a constitutional amendment, two thirds of the legislative vote are required, then it would then go to the people in Nov. of 2014. SB 1074 passed the Senate on Wednesday as well. The bill expands a 1984 law that created a special liquor license for the Lewiston Roundup, by adjusting the acreage and city-limits rules so that it matches the Caldwell Night Rodeo. The move has the potential to increase the positive economic impact of Caldwell Night Rodeo which benefits the entire Treasure Valley.
Thursday, the Senate passed House Concurrent Resolution 3. This Concurrent Resolution states the support of the Legislature for schools continuing to teach students how to write in cursive. According to experts, cursive handwriting improves hand-eye development and coordination.
On Friday, the Senate passed SB 1098 which promotes openness and transparency in teacher-school district negotiations. The bill had the support of the School Boards Association and the Idaho Education Association. Also, the Senate voted unanimously to protect the 1st Amendment Rights of all Idahoans by rejecting Department of Administration rules that would have limited people’s right to protest in and outside the Capitol.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

I'm blessed to have so many birthday wishes today, it is good being 35 again! LOL Thanks to all for your kindness!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Our Veteran Recognition Act in Idaho, as it should be all over our nation. Vets know what vets need, allow them do it: bit.ly/Z1pvi1

Monday, February 25, 2013

Getting the School Security and Safety bill printed today as well, good to get some of these efforts moving: bit.ly/V2VmRx

Took the snow plow off the mini-truck yesterday... that's why it's snowing today, sorry... my bad.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

A great lady, and leader, I worked for taught me a lesson once; When all you are left with is lemons, you make lemonade! Here is my debate on the Senate floor on our Healthcare Exchange choices: bit.ly/ZBZ870

As expected, it's been a pleasure working with my long-time friend, Representative Judy Boyle on our 2nd Amendment issues this session. We've tried to herd all the ideas for protecting our rights, as well as our citizens, and have come together with many very good bills. Here is a summary of what you should see happening this next week in both the House and Senate on 2nd Amendment issues:

Monday will be public hearings in House State Affairs for two of the bills and print hearings for two more. Legislation is called an RS (Routing Slip) before becoming an official bill. An RS is the confidential personal property of the sponsor and is not seen until it receives a print hearing. If a committee agrees to print the RS, it is then given a number and placed on the legislative website for the public to review prior to a public hearing. Once/if these 2 RS's are printed we will be able to discuss their intent and impact

One bill, now printed is H192, up for a full hearing Monday, is a new enanced carry conceal permit which should allow Idahoans to carry in at least 39 states. This permit will require 8 hours of intense face to face training with 98 rounds of live fire, information on legal aspects, how to handle an active shooter situation, and more. Rep Joe Palmer (R-Meridian) is the sponsor.

Another bill, H183, is also scheduled for a full hearing Monday and is sponsored by Rep Terry Gestrin (R-Donnelly). This is cleans up old language that was missed in our 2008 Senate bill S1441 which declared the legilature would be the sole authority to regulate concealed firearms with a few exceptions. The old language of still on the books that was found by a citizen in Dist 20 is now conflicting with the new language and says that cities have the authority to regulate, prohibit, or punish the use of concealed weapons. H183 would remove that ability and make clear only the legislature regulates concealed firearms as defined in our Constitution and Idaho statute.

In the Senate, we have S1099 which de-regulates the requirement for the tax stamp required when purchasing a suppressor or transferring a suppressor between Idaho citizens within Idaho boarders. The importance of this is based on hearing loss and costs now being incurred by Idahoans through the noise pollution of shooting sports while not wearing proper hearing protection. Hearing loss to all Idahoans is now in the 6% range directly caused by shooting sports. Health and Welfare, in 2012, spent over $330k in hearing mitigation for Idaho's poor directly related to shooting sports. The rest of Idahoans each spend well over $4k in repairing damaged hearing. Most of this happens in hunting situations where wearing hearing protection is counter productive to the sport. Suppressors are now legal for anyone to own (they are not a firearm, more like a car muffler) and hunt with in Idaho, the $200 tax stamp is another price barrier keeping many from buying one to shoot with to protect their hearing and the hearing of those around them.

A final RS in the Senate should be heard this week that has to do with K-12 security ensuring that we have proper plans in place needed to protect our citizens attending, teaching and working in our schools. Ensuring that measures taken are left up to local managers to control based on available resources... more once this is printed.

Once all of these RS's are printed, I will provide the links to you all here for review so you can provide your input to your legislators.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Week 7 Legislative Update:
The Senate Resources and Environment Committee voted on Monday to give the state final say on whether an endangered species or plant is reintroduced into the state. This vote ensures Idaho is exercising its state sovereignty under the 10th amendment and fighting for the rights of Idahoans. Later the Senate Health and Welfare Committee voted to send SB 1053 to the floor, this bill would stagger food stamp distribution over the first 10 days of each month instead of only at the first of each month. The move has the support of retailers and many anti-hunger activists. It was pulled back on Friday due to some changes on the Statement of Purpose fiscal impact section. Revisions were in a good direction (down for the cost to implement) but still needs to be vetted through the committee.
On Tuesday JFAC began its first day of setting state agency budgets. Among the budgets set on Tuesday were the Division of Building Safety, the State Lottery, and Idaho Endowment Fund Investment Board. The Senate also passed SB 1049 that would set up a new Governor-appointed oil and gas commission. This would help the state nurture the growing industry and protect the rights of property owners and taxpayers.
The Senate State Affairs Committee on Wednesday voted to approve SCR 112 and SJM 101. Senate Concurrent Resolution 112 would affirm the state’s position against marijuana use in any form and the Senate Joint Memorial would urge the Federal Government to enforce existing drug laws. The approval of both measures by State Affairs ensures the Senate will hear about protecting Idaho’s youth and that Idaho should urge the Federal Government to enforce its existing laws.
The Senate debated and passed the State Healthcare Exchange after six hours of debate. The final vote was 23-12 and because of the length of the debate no afternoon Committee meetings were held. The issue was to back a Federally run Exchange or a State run Exchange, few of us on the floor liked either choice, but we had to select the least worst option due to the federal law that remains constitutional after our challenge in the Supreme Court back in 2010. I am confident that my friends across the rotunda in the House will be able to make this bill better than what we sent them.
On Friday JFAC continued to set multiple, conservative agency budgets, ensuring that Idaho taxpayers money is spent wisely. We also debated more bills on the floor and sent many Senate bills to the House for their consideration.
This was a very long and arduous week. I've lost a lot of sleep over the decision on the Healthcare Exchange, doing a lot of study and thinking how best to defend our citizens and businesses from the overreach of the Federal government. As I said in debate, we have been on offense on this issue since 2010, but we didn't win all we needed in the courts... nor did we win the Executive branch or the Senate in DC that could have modified this law. It's now the beginning of the 3rd quarter of this healthcare exchange debacle and we are starting on defense. Leaving the field mid-game is not an option, you lose the chance to throw that "hail Mary" that could win you the game in the end. I will try to find a video of my debate for those who might not have been able to hang with us for all 6 hours...

Friday, February 22, 2013

Great job to the Ada County Lincoln Day celebration, Fred Barnes as guest speaker was a great choice to comment on situations we face today!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Walking out of the Capital last evening around 6, I met retired Sen. Alan Simpson (WY) and we had a chance to stop and chat. What a humble and gracious man! We compared notes about our Legislatures (he served 13 years in the WY Legislature before going to D.C.) and how you learn so much about life in general. It seemed he didn't want to leave, but keep chatting, but is handler (and friend of mine) had to get him to a venue he spoke at last night. So knowledgeable and down to earth, it's no wonder he was such a key individual back in his day... I hope we meet again someday, I enjoyed our short but genuine conversation!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Relaxing wknd, worked the "honey-do" list, topped with dinner and good friends. Ready for a week of Healthcare, Veteran and firearm bills!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Legislative Update Week 6:
Last week, both the Senate and House Health and Welfare Committees held a joint forum open to the public. Public testimony was provided on a range of issues of concern to the public. We heard very passionate concerns from both providers and their customers alike on health needs.

Monday the House and Senate Education Committees held a joint forum open to the public. Constituents, teachers, principals and superintendants were all able to explain to the lawmakers where they believe Idaho should go in regards to Education. On the same day the Senate Education Committee introduced 14 bills relating to education. The legislation had a wide range of sponsors from individual senators to the Idaho School Boards Association and Idaho Education Association. Tough discussions and debate regarding the confirmation of a Fish and Game Commissioner appointed by the Governor. In the end of some very informed debate on both sides of the confirmation, it went down on a 19-16 vote. We have a great working relationship with our Governor, sadly this hasn't happened since 1974, but that's what the process of checks and balances are in place for.

Tuesday we printed many bills in committee and have passed many bills on the Senate floor to pass over to the House for consideration.

On Wednesday the Senate celebrated a slightly delayed celebration of our nation’s 16th President’s birthday. The Senate’s outstanding outgoing pages sang and offered inspiring quotes to those in the chamber. Also, former long-time reporter Quane Keynon served in the place of Sen. Fred Martin.

On Thursday Committee chairs from the House and Senate reported to JFAC in preparation for the Committee’s budget-setting process. Senator Goedde, chairman of the Senate Education Committee, testified the Committee is focused on how best to increase efficiency, accountability and continue to invest in our future.

On Friday JFAC set their budget target for 2014 to be 3% over the current year’s appropriations. The move is in line with Governor Otter’s budget request. We are very concerned about spending more than the revenue we bring in and have deep concerns about the impact of funding decisions due to sequestration and budget cuts in D.C. About 1/2 of Idaho's budget is based on revenue coming back from the Federal government from our taxes and borrowing money. We were informed that if all stays on track in DC, we could be short another $100m from Transportation (about a 20% reduction of the current revenue). Our Idaho economic indicators are flat, but housing starts are up... some good signs, but you can't budget on being able to spend "signs"!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Listening to POTUS describe his vision while at the same time not submitting a budget to support it makes my head want to explode!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Some tough votes today in committee and on the floor, but did get my firearms suppressor bill printed :-) bit.ly/V1eOPM

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Spent a great early Valentines weekend with my sweetie, Mom and Dad at Riggins this weekend. V-day will be Mom and Dad's 60th engagement anniversary!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Anyone who believes this President and Senate won't fund Obamacare has not paid attention of their behavior for the last 6 years. I've not seen a single program they have wished to implement go unfunded... with either our money, newly printed money or borrowed. This is a good read of why we must do what we must do in the Idaho Legislature: bit.ly/V7JZXd

End of Week Update for the Senate (Feb 8, 2013)

We just completed a very full week in the Senate, highlights are provided below... many other bills were printed that might be of more interest to you. I would suggest using the Bill Center webpage at www.legislature.Idaho.gov to review what bills are are discussing. The list is updated daily.

Monday the Senate and House Education Committees announced they would be holding another joint forum open to the public on February 11, 4-6 pm in the Capitol Auditorium. This will be the second time the education committees have requested public input (in addition to their normal committee meetings). This move was made to make sure everyone has an opportunity for input on education reform before votes are cast.

Tuesday the Senate took steps to protect Idaho’s children when the Senate Education Committee voted to introduce a bill that would require school boards to deny enrollment to any convicted felon. The bill would have no impact on those with violent misdemeanors. The move shows that that the Senate takes the protection of Idaho’s children seriously, that bill will be further discussed in Committee and if passed out of Committee, debated on the floor.

Wednesday the Senate approved SCR-103 which approves stakeholders in Idaho to coordinate and send a proposal to the FAA to be selected as one of the six states with an unmanned aircraft system test site. If selected, Idaho would likely see an influx of money and new economic activity. We printed a follow on bill that clearly sets sideboards for public privacy for drone operation, that bill was printed in the Transportation Committee on Friday and will be scheduled for hearing (it was a minor re-write of S1051).

On Thursday the Senate passed SB 1027 which would expand the Opportunity Scholarship program and provide 3,000-4,000 students in college with a $2,000 per year scholarship. The program will make it easier for Idaho students to get a college education. S1042, the Governor’s health exchange bill, was passed out of the Commerce committee on an 8-1 vote and heads to the full Senate floor next week for debate.

Friday we had a pleasant surprise when Idaho Historical Society President Janet Gallimore unveiled a priceless piece of Idaho’s history; the original document where President Lincoln appointed William Wallace as Idaho’s first territorial Governor (you can see pictures of it in my previous posts). The House and Senate Health and Welfare Committees held a joint listening forum that was open to the public so that we could hear, first hand, of what is and isn't working in our H&W system. Meanwhile, on the 4th floor of the Capitol Rotunda we were able to meet and talk with people representing organizations that care for the disabled. Also the Senate State Affairs Committee (at the recommendation of the Associated Cities of Idaho) introduced a resolution recommending marijuana remain illegal, and encouraging the Federal Government to enforce existing substance abuse laws.

I was also pleased that the three bills I presented on the Senate floor on Friday all passed and have now been sent on to the House for consideration. These bills were S1010: streamlining our behavior health system for more efficiencies and focus on needs, S1043: Allowing the placement of a veteran designation on Idaho drivers licenses, and S1044: re-defining a motorcycle from only being up to a 3 wheel vehicle to also allow aftermarket outriggers kits (4 wheels).

Although it was a very busy week, we have much more heavy lifting to do. Debates on our Healthcare Exchange options (our choices are either a Federal one or a State one), Personal Property Tax repeal, School Security and protection of our 2nd Amendment rights are all upcoming (many more bills to be printed).

Thursday, February 7, 2013

School security isn't about guns, nor is personal security, we are missing a mindset. This is a great read! bit.ly/bHiib0

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

We are distilling and combining our firearm and school bills as much as possible, many to be printed soon. nyti.ms/XlBJzz

Sunday, February 3, 2013

We have a higher vet unemployment rate, too high a suicide rate and too many homeless. Why tolerate that? bit.ly/WOzp7K

Friday, February 1, 2013

The Senate Week IV The Senate did several important things this week. First, the Senate unanimously confirmed Brandon Woolf to replace Donna Jones as State Controller. Woolf served as Jones’s Deputy and has a history of serving Idaho with distinction. On Tuesday the Commerce and Human Affairs Committee voted unanimously to approve printing of the Governor’s state Health Exchange Bill. This vote ensures that Idahoans have a chance to hear the proposal and reasoning for a State Exchange and testify before the Committee the Exchange. On Thursday JFAC made their first budgetary decisions of a year. These votes covered expenses related to deficiency warrants and supplemental appropriations, by far the largest of which was covering costs incurred during wildfire season of 2012. Paying bills one has accumulated is something our Federal Government could take lessons on. On Friday the House and Senate Education Committees held a joint public meeting Friday morning wanting to hear from their constituents and concerned citizens about the future of education. Among the issues discussed were school labor issues and increased funding for charter schools. This is just one of the latest steps the Legislature has taken to continue to be open to the public and improve transparency in government. It's been a long week, we've started on a good path for Idahoans to discuss many issues needing resolution. Thank you for letting me represent you in the greatest State in our nation!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Had my first bills of the 2013 session printed today: S1043, Optional Veteran designation on our Idaho Drivers Lic., S1044, Redefine Motorcycles to allow the use of outrigger wheels, and S1045, Redefining a Veteran for the State's hiring practices. Have a few more in the hopper, more on those later. All the bills now printed can be found at the Idaho Legislative website's Bill Center: legislature.idaho.gov/legislation/2013/minidata.ht...a.htm

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

"I do solemnly swear to support and defend the Constitution of the United States..."

As a retired Navy Mustang and now in my 4th Legislative term, I've taken and had the opportunity to administer this oath many times in my life. Every time I do, I think how powerful a statement that it really is. Supporting and defending our Constitution has never meant to me "yeah, but only the parts I like", it's been all or nothing... I've alway felt a sense of pride and purpose after the oath because this document has, since 1776, reflected what America is about.. it's our spirit, our grit, our civility and our sense of equality. It represents our path to the freedoms we enjoy.

It concerns and saddens me when I see or hear someone making laws or creating Executive Orders that are outside the framework of this document of freedom, it's like a kick in the gut to me and I know many that are like me as well. There are those that intentionally push to the limits of that document, I suspect to find those edges of what's acceptable and what's not, it bothers me when it appears our leaders wantonly ignore it. Don't they realize how many have laterally shed blood, given their lives or lost everything they ever worked for to protect our process of law?

Many reading this are likely to think that I'm talking about our President and his Executive Orders or appointments by-passing the congressional process as outlined in this glorious document. Although an excellent example of what seems to be broken in Washington D.C., that's not what I'm commenting on here. I have been concerned about people that are adamant that we need to just stand up for our 10th Amendment rights as a State to bypass "Obamacare". That we need to just ignore the law and decision of the Supreme Court (because few of us in Idaho agreed with that decision) and do our own thing because we have the right to do so under the 10th Amendment.

Now don't get me wrong, as I've stated before, I have sworn to that oath to "support and defend" many times. I, along with millions of US Citizens including many of you, have taken that oath and we do that for the ENTIRE Constitution, not just for the parts we like. Many seem to forget that Article III, Section 1 defines the third branch of government, OUR Supreme Court, and it's powers are defined in Section 2. Ignoring the decisions of that third branch of government, as much as we don't like it, would make us as guilty as those that have been found to have mis-used their powers before outside of our Constitution... I will not be placed in the same class of "leader" who seems to have no respect for this document that has so well outlined a civil process for the freedoms that we can enjoy. I will not ignore ANY article or section of the document I have dedicated much of my life sworn to "support and defend" and it would surprise me if many would.

I was very proud to be on the House floor when we voted to make Idaho the 1st State in our great nation to stand up to and sue the Federal government for what we believed was an over reach of their Congressional and Executive powers. We stood beside 26 other states and fought that battle to the Supreme Court. The decision from the Supreme Court was not just that Obamacare was a legal law, but it affirmed that the Citizens of these United States had elected the officials that made it law and clearly indicated "you got what you voted for"...

Ignoring this decision, or ignoring Article III of our Constitution isn't the way to fix the healthcare mess we are in, the true fix is to elect leaders who recognize individual and States rights and who are willing to create the laws that are respectful of those rights outlined in the document of freedom we all hold so dearly.

I have learned the hard way that making laws that fit within our State's Constitution, the US Constitution, US law and the decisions of the Supreme Courts (State and Federal) is not an easy task. It takes a great deal of time to implement, create or fix laws that will squeeze neatly within the boundaries established by the decisions of our forefathers. Patience, for those that know me well, was never one of my strong points... but I've had to learn that it takes a great deal patience to chart the correct path remaining within the boundaries of those decisions and laws that are a result of the process outlined our Constitution.

Ignoring ANY part of our State or Federal Constitution, our laws or decisions created through the process outlined by our Constitutions, reduces us to the same level of those we now despise for ignoring those Articles or Amendments that we hold so dearly... are you really willing to go there?

I'm not, I've taken that oath too many times, it's a part of me now...

Monday, January 28, 2013

Started early on Kevin Miller's radio show discussing Idaho's current gun laws and Constitution forbidding registration of firearms or ammunition and discussed behavioral health needs as a priority fix. Lunch with the State's FFA students, what a great program!.. then more rules in Jud/Rules and Health and Welfare. Frustrating that some don't understand that more rules impact economic growth and personal freedoms... We must remove barriers, not add them! Tomorrow I will stand before the Transportation Committee and ask to print 2 veteran bills and one Motorcycle bill... things are heating up!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Had some very good meetings today from Intern scholarships, school safety, motorcycle bills and even saw a very cool telepresence device allowing us to provide a virtual tour to students and others of our Capital in real time! I will post a picture of Pro-tem Senator Brent Hill being the first to connect with high schools in his district.


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Continuing to review rules developed from the code changes we made last year in H&W. Had the first joint meeting of the House and Senate Judiciary and Rules Committees where we went through a scenario from the time someone commits a crime to when they are released from prison. We had Prosecutors, Sheriffs, Judges, Defense Attorneys, Prisons and Parole all there discussing the process. Very interesting for those of us that have not been there. Finished the day discussing biologic drugs and how they are managed in the State and changes to that management for patient safety... home now and thinking of my friend John and his family's tragic loss.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Continuing Rules review in all committees while working on bills, constituent meetings and media interviews about what we are up to... whew!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

We have some very good 2nd Amendment protections in Idaho, from our Constitution (Article 1, Section 11) to the 2010 Firearms Freedom Act. Idaho has a fair CWP process where our local County Sheriffs are the top authority for permitting those vetted and trained. All of us walk among armed citizens in Idaho daily without issue, our process is working but can be made better. Who might be carrying a concealed weapon is a major deterrent to bad guys as a key unknown factor when considering where they might want to do harm... it's all about proper deterrent, not pulling a trigger, to stop bad things from happening before they are even considered. bit.ly/XpfCYL

Friday, January 18, 2013

Day 10 of the Idaho Legislature and people are starting to settle in to focus on the "big issues". Everyone is working on reviewing rules written from last years statute changes as well as drafting and redrafting potential bills for those "big issue" solutions. We've printed bills to remove a lot of outdated state code and bills to focus on Behavioral Health at a more local level. I had some good discussions this morning at our 7 am meeting in Eagle reviewing many of the issues we are dealing with here at the Capital and hearing of the work being done at the local level to solve problems there. It's good to see so many people working together for the public good.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Proud that the Senate H&W Committee today printed a bill that will increase the reach of Behavioral Health outreach and support into our local communities. It won't be easy to find and help those that need more support, but focusing on mental health at the local level is what's needed to attend to some major issues facing our nation today... as some well respected friends say, "The only easy day was yesterday"...

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Never an unused minute at the Capital. Please rest assured we have many efforts ongoing regarding the potential 2nd Amendment infringement... please be patient with the Idaho Legislature, we can't act without knowing exactly what is being planned in DC... We already have many protections from previous bills that we have passed and our Constitution, Article 1, Section 11... please "standby to standby" and we will fix any loopholes we need to.

Printed many bills today, one of interest to many is a change in motorcycle registrations. The bill intends to change the cycle from annually (Jan - Dec) to rolling dates like cars and trucks. I talked to quite a number of folks this summer that suggested that and the Department agreed and brought the bill.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Spent a few hours reviewing rules for DEQ and had a good meeting with 2 young ladies from Rocky Mountain HS regarding heart health, school fitness and underaged smoking issues. They were well informed and communicated their concerns well and effectively... it's always a pleasure working with well informed youth!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Funny, I said the same things Adm Lyons is now saying after this mess started... Could a bad cover story have gone worse? By the way, I wrote my comments about a snatch and grab gone bad on a military FB page I belong to and... hhhmmm, it's gone! bit.ly/10ma9tO

Thursday, January 10, 2013

An interesting read from Russia's Pravda to Americans... Maybe sage advice from someone who's walked a trail it appears we are embarking on: bit.ly/WY2DDk

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Enlightening conversations today with Sen. Brackett and Martin, I'm lucky to work with such experienced and good hearted individuals...

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Getting draft bills done for roads, security and employment... once I get shopped around for support, will get them in the hopper!

This is a good, quick summary of the Governor's State of the State and budget summary... thoughts? bit.ly/Xffr4M

Monday, January 7, 2013

The Idaho Legislature is now in session....

Sunday, January 6, 2013

The Idaho Legislative session starts tomorrow at noon, MST with the Governor's State of the State. Our primary focus is setting the budget while reviewing rules created from last session's laws enacted and updating current laws on the books. Removing those un-needed laws and finding ways to streamline regulations impacting our economy and citizens. You can watch online or listen to committee meetings all session long; www.idahoptv.org/insession/leg.cfm

Friday, January 4, 2013

Some great meetings today, started at 7 am in Eagle and ended with my friends from the House at 7:30 pm... looking forward to the session!