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