My Update on Week 6 of the Legislative Session

Week 6 has come to a successful end and we are halfway through the 2023 Legislative Session, assuming they end this session the end of March. Whether of not they choose to sine die the end of March…time will tell. Sine die is the final adjournment of a session of the legislature.

The week began with prayer and praise on the Capitol steps and throughout the Capitol building. This was hosted by a couple local area churches and very well represented. Definitely the very best way to start off the week. Folks went from prayer and praise on the Capitol steps to the Caldwell School Board Meeting where Caldwell School District’s Proposed Policy 3281 was once again on the agenda. Not only was the room, now with fewer seats then previous months, full of concerned citizens but outside the building was community members as far as the eye could see. Representative Brent Crane spoke to the School Board Trustees concerning the policy before them and notified them of Senate bill 1100 that had been introduced just that day in the legislature. Senate Bill 1100 – Protecting the Privacy and Safety of Students in Public Schools The Caldwell School Board decided to pause their vote on this policy and give the legislature time to act. Early this month while the regional superintendents were in both education committees, they were asking our legislators for guidance and help in these serious issues facing education. They told legislators that without state guidelines, they felt they only had federal guidelines mandating them. One superintendent asked our legislators to put their “oar in the water”. I felt that they were pleading for help from our state leaders.

Idaho School Board Association Policy 3281 Recommendations

Tuesday, Representative Bruce Skaug had the third reading on his H 71 – Child Protection Act. It passed the house floor with a vote of 57-12-0. The vote was along party lines with the exception of Representative Bundy, who chose to vote with the Democrats. The debate on the floor was long and probably a lot like you would expect. Representative Julianne Young is always extremely well spoken and level headed. She keeps the floor debates fairly calm and very realistic. You can always count on her to bring the discussion back to truth, real truth.

Senator Tammy Nichols and Senator Brian Lenney presented S 1038 – ESA Educational Savings Account on Tuesday. The committee adjourned on Tuesday after about three hours of exhaustive testimony, discussion, and questions. On Wednesday, The Senate Education Committee continued listening to testimony for at least two hours. Senator Tammy Nichols and Senator Brian Lenney then answered the committee’s questions, there was a motion made to give the bill a do pass to the senate floor, and a roll call vote was requested.

The vote was as follows: 6-3

Ayes – Den Hartog, Herndon, Nichols, Toews, Carlson, Lenney

Nays – Lent, Ward-Engelking, Semmelroth

Thursdays are always extra busy at the Capitol. Besides all the committees and floor sessions, there is prayer at 11 and Capitol Clarity at noon. This week Stanton Healthcare was also at the Capitol. They brought their Stanton Healthcare Mobile Clinic. It is AMAZING!!! The mobile clinic has undergone an incredible remodel with beautiful flooring, medical upholstery, a super cool ultrasound machine, and very trendy exterior wrap. If you haven’t had an opportunity to check out the absolutely life-saving work Stanton Healthcare is doing all across this nation, you have to check them out. Brandi Swindell and her incredible crew are the very best and we are so blessed to have them stationed right her in Idaho.

Friday, Superintendent Debbie Critchfield and Representative Judy Boyle introduced RS 30377/H0163 Parental Rights. Senator Ben Toews will be sponsoring this bill in the Senate. The legislation would update Title 33 Chapter 60 in Idaho code regarding parental rights. It reinforces the fundamental rights and responsibilities of parents or legal guardians as primary stakeholders to make decisions regarding the upbringing of their child. This legislation encourages transparent communication between parents and our schools. I began working on this legislation nine months ago and with the help of many parents, community members, legislators, a few lawyers, our superintendent and her team; we all came together, set aside any of our differences, found things we agreed on, and worked to make improvements for Idaho’s children and parents. The teamwork from all of these people and their authentic desire to help children has truly restored my hope in education. If we can continue to work together and have productive discussions with outcomes that help Idaho’s children, that’s a blessing.

For the Upcoming Week:

  1. Pray, pray, pray
  2. Seek truth! Please read the bills for yourself. Ask questions of your legislators if you hear something that doesn’t seem right.
  3. Where’s a Bill? You might like this page. It’s where I go to find a bill and all of its information real quick. There are so many bills I’d love to talk about individually. Please take some time to look at this link and search for bills. There are so many important bills!
  5. Idaho Legislative Session **This is very helpful & puts all the information from the legislative website in one place. It updates daily. Check it out!
  6. Bill Tracker
  7. H0139 – School and Library Protection Act Representative Jaron Crane and Senator Cindy Carlson are sponsoring this much needed bill. There should be a hearing this upcoming week where public testimony can be heard.
  8. H 0163 – Parental Rights Bill
  9. The Human Sex Trafficking Bill is being edited just a bit and then will be ready for a hearing within the next week or two.
  10. H 71 – Child Protection Act
  11. Bathroom Bill – S 1100 Protecting Privacy and Safety for Students in Public Schools
  12. S 1099 – Protection of Pupil and Parental Rights Act This bill would protect students and families from intrusion by the government and provides further transparency for parents regarding activities within schools.
  13. S1038 – ESA (Educational Savings Account)
  14. H 64 Representative Young RESIDENTIAL CARE AND ASSISTED LIVING – Amends existing law to provide that a residential care or assisted living facility resident shall be entitled to in-person visitation subject to certain precautions. Rep. Young will be presenting this bill in the House Health and Welfare Committee Monday, February 20th @ 9 am.
  15. H0058 – School Bond Election Dates Passed the House and is headed to the Senate. The following is the Statement of Purpose; “This legislation modifies Idaho code that relates to School Bond and Levy election dates. The changes to Idaho code would consolidate elections for bonds and levies with the May primaries and November general election, removing the March and August interim elections. The result is likely to be greater voter turnout, and reduced costs.”
  16. H0124 – Identification at the Polls Representative Tina Lambert and Senator Scott Herndon are sponsoring this bill. It eliminates student identification as an accepted form of ID for voting.
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