This past week is nearly a blur! Between our legislators attending their committees, reading and researching their pending rules binders, attending numerous meetings, answering more calls, emails, and text messages then I can count, speaking with their constituents that show up at the Capitol to talk with them, making sure they are educated on all the bills that will be coming before them on the floor, and then being on the floor to discuss, debate, and vote on the bills. I’m not sure when they ever sleep. The legislators that travel from home and attempt to visit their families on the weekend, find themselves running nonstop to find that travel time in order to see their families for a short time before rushing back to the Capitol to prepare to serve. I don’t mention this to make you all feel sorry for them, but I hope that we all stop and consider the true sacrifices that come with these positions. My hope is that the next time you hear someone complain about their legislator not returning their email fast enough, you might encourage them. Let them know how much is on our legislator’s plates. I honestly believe that we can make a big difference by shedding some light on truth.
Between the frigid temperatures, the fast paced legislation and committee schedules, I don’t think I was the only one thrilled to see the weekend. Over the past couple of years, I’ve noticed the proposed rules binders being discussed in committees. I’ve began to wonder about how fast they are reviewed and how little they are truly discussed. Within the Pending Rules Education binder are pages and pages of changes to rules that either the House or the Senate Education Committees must approve or reject. If there are fees attached to these rules, both the House AND the Senate Committees must approve them before they become policy. This process is completed every Legislative Session. It seems to happen very quickly and once the process is complete, the pending rules become policy. Once policy, The State Board of Education has control of that policy and the legislature no longer has any oversight. Please take a look at the Proposed Rules for 2023. I encourage you to spend some time with these! In my opinion, they are as important as a lot of the legislation we see each year.
As I spent time looking at the Pending Rules for Education, there were a few changes I noticed. It looked like the word “equitable” is being added to the education agenda quite frequently. Dr. James Lindsay defines equality and equity in simple terms, making it easier for us to understand. “Where equality means that citizen A and citizen B are treated equally, equity means “adjusting shares in order to make citizen A and B equal.” In that sense, equity is something like a kind of “social communism,” if we will-the intentional redistribution of shares…” Dr. James Lindsay Equity vs Equality
The pending rules replace his, her, they, and their on a couple pages. It appears that a section titled “Public Information” is removed. Somewhat interesting considering it deals with information being disclosed as set forth in the Public Records Act. I’m hoping this has just been moved to another location and I’m just missing it because all Idahoans should have access to public records. It also appears as if a lot of educational control and oversight is given to the State Board. The Board will now approve Standards, Teacher renewal requirements, endorsements, student achievements scores and assessments, charter school approvals and renewals and much more. They refer to “identifying” students who are at-risk or have special needs. I wonder who is doing the “identifying” and once a child is “identified”, can they be unidentified at any point?
The Proposed Rules include a framework for the equitable selection process. This I find very interesting! When I researched these types of equitable selection processes, I couldn’t get away from Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI). None of this belongs in the classroom. We want our students to know that they are incredible just the way God created them. They deserve a job or a position on a team because they earned it not because a certain “equity framework” needs to be met. The following are a few examples of frameworks for equitable selection processes. Please keep in mind, I don’t agree with these frameworks or the DEI agenda in any way.
It is the “things behind the scenes” like this pending rules binder that makes me so thankful for the veteran legislators in our Capitol building. They are aware of these technicalities and working to protect Idaho’s values.
Speaking of great legislators, Representative Bruce Skaug presented his RS 29985C1 Vulnerable Child Protection Act in the House Judiciary, Rules & Administration Committee. It was printed and is now officially House Bill 71. The timing on this couldn’t have been better as we were blessed with having Chloe Cole, a detransitioning teen, in the Treasure Valley this week. I had the opportunity to hear her speak both Wednesday night at a church in Caldwell and Thursday at Capitol Clarity. I can assure you, both the church in Caldwell and the Lincoln Auditorium at the Capitol were filled with people that couldn’t hold back their tears. You could physically feel the pain this young lady had endured. At the age of 13, Chloe began her transitioning journey. By the time she was 16, her body was physically, emotionally, and spiritually broken. Unfortunately, the medical professionals, I use that word lightly, were NOT nearly as willing to help Chloe when she told them she wanted to detransition. She was on her own with her struggle of detransitioning and a great deal of the damage done to her as a minor child was irreparable. ‘No kid is equipped’ to consent to transgender surgery: Chloe Cole Sky News Australia
Later in the week in the same committee, Representative Julianne Young presented her RS 30136. It was passed and sent for print. H0063 – COUNSELORS AND THERAPISTS – Adds to existing law to provide that no counselor or therapist will be required to counsel or serve a client regarding goals, outcomes, or behaviors that conflict with the sincerely held principles of the counselor or therapist.
In State Affairs, Representative Tina Lambert presented RS 30080. She explained that it removes student IDs as a valid form of identification at the polls because there is some concern that students from Washington are using their Idaho student IDs to vote and they are also voting in Washington. A motion was made to introduce RS 30080, it carried and was sent to print. H0054 – ELECTIONS – Amends and repeals existing law to prohibit the use of student IDs for personal identification at polling places and to prohibit personal affidavits in lieu of personal identification.
Representative Alfieri presented RS 30075 and explained it modifies Idaho Code relating to school bond and levy election dates. He expects this will result in greater voter engagement and lower costs for the counties. A motion was made to introduce RS 30075, it carried and was sent to print. H0058 – ELECTIONS – Amends existing law to remove school bond and levy election dates in August and March.
The following were also presented in State Affairs this week:
Representative Monks presented RS 30175 Relating to Immunizations; Amending Chapter 23, Title 67, Idaho Code. H0069 – HEALTH – Adds to existing law to prohibit requiring, for certain purposes, a COVID-19 vaccine or a vaccine offered under emergency use authorization.
Representative Boyle presented RS 30087 Memorial Authorizing Idaho and Oregon Legislatures To Begin Official Discussions HJM001 – OREGON AND IDAHO BORDERS – States findings of the Legislature and resolves that the Idaho Legislature stands ready to begin discussions with the Oregon Legislature regarding the potential to relocate the Oregon/Idaho state boundary.
RS 30104 Establishing HOA provisions for the inherent right of property owners to grow and raise food Senator Nichols H0076 – HOMEOWNERS’ ASSOCIATIONS – Amends and adds to existing law to prohibit homeowners’ associations from restricting the right to grow and raise food.
Representative Alfieri presented RS 30009 Absentee Ballots Requirements. H0075 – VOTING – Amends existing law to revise provisions regarding voting by absentee ballot.
House Resource and Conservation Committee is reviewing Pending Rules. PENDING FEE RULES
Please, it is VERY IMPORTANT that we as citizens stay informed on these rules and pay attention to what is being approved. This week they reviewed Docket #20-0214-2201 Rules for Selling Forest Products on State-Owned Endowment Lands; Docket #20-0317-2201 Rules Governing Leases on State-Owned Navigable Waterways; Docket #13-0102-2201 Rules Governing Mandatory Education, Mentored Hunting, and Shooting Ranges (ZBR Chapter Rewrite, Fee Rule) – Proposed Rule; Docket #13-0104-2201 Rules Governing Licensing – Proposed Rule; Docket #13-0104-2202 Rules Governing Licensing – Proposed Rule; Docket #13-0110-2201 Rules Governing Importation, Possession, Release, Sale, or Salvage of Wildlife (ZBR Chapter Rewrite) – Proposed Rule; Docket #13-0114-2201 Rules Governing Falconry (ZBR Chapter Rewrite) – Proposed Rule; Department of Fish and Game; and Docket #13-0118-2201 Rules Governing Feeding of Wild Cervids (ZBR Chapter Rewrite) – Proposed Rule.
House Revenue and Taxation Committee was all about taxes. H0077 – TAXATION – Amends and adds to existing law to provide sales tax moneys to replace certain homeowner property taxes. H0078 – PROPERTY TAXES – Amends existing law to revise provisions regarding the homeowner exemption. H0079 – PROPERTY TAX RELIEF – Amends, repeals, and adds to existing law to provide property tax relief by establishing and funding the School District Facilities Fund to provide moneys to school districts in lieu of property taxes, to increase the homeowner exemption, to increase circuit breaker eligibility, to revise distributions for the State Public Defense Fund, and to reduce dates for school levy and bond elections. H0080 – INCOME TAX – Amends existing law to revise provisions regarding evidence of a taxpayer’s expenditures.
In the House Education Committee Representative Megan Blanksma presented H 24 – WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT – Amends and adds to existing law to establish the Idaho Launch Grant Program and to revise provisions regarding the In-Demand Careers Fund. The public was able to testify. It is somewhat discouraging most days because there are usually 9 to 1 lobbyists to constituents testifying in committees. The same was true concerning this bill. There was one lady that testified and probably 10-12 lobbyists and our State Superintendent, Debbie Critchfield. I foresee a hearty debate on the House floor over this bill.
In the Senate Education Committee, there was an outstanding presentation about the good things happening in the Council School District by Clete Edmunson, Superintendent/Principal of the Council School District. Senator Brian Lenney presented RS 30025 to Repeal Article IX Section 5 of the Constitution of the State of Idaho (aka The Blaine Amendment). A motion was introduced to RS 30025, it carried and was sent for print. S 1029 will have a hearing in the Senate this upcoming week.
Senator Tammy Nichols presented RS 30093 Freedom in Education Savings Accounts (FIE). A motion was made to introduce RS 30093, it carried and was send to print. Senator Lori Den Hartog presented RS 30092 Charter School Credit Enhancement, as well as RS 30094 Charter School Revolving Loan Funding. Both passed and were send to print. S 1038 has been sent to the Senate Education Committee for a hearing nd public testimony.
Senator Ben Toews made a motion to hold RS 30156 to prohibit sex education of all types prior to
the fifth grade within the school system by amending section 33-1611 in order for him to make a few edits. Be looking for this to be brought back to committee. With all the issues around Idaho regarding the transgender policy 3281 that has been snuck into so many school districts without parents’ knowledge, it is long past time for Idaho to have legislation that protects our children from this very liberal sex education agenda. Senator Toews is one of many legislators that is standing strong to make sure Idaho’s children are able to maintain their innocence without fear of being harmed by the sexual agenda at school. Too many adults have stood by for far too long and innocent children have been harmed. As Chloe Cole told us, “It’s not going to get any better for children until adults get over their fear.”
The Senate Transportation Committee has been reviewing Pending Rules.
They covered Docket #39-0202-2201 Rules Governing Vehicle and Vessel Dealer License Requirements – Motor Vehicles (ZBR Chapter Rewrite) – Proposed Rule, Docket #39-0226-2201 Rules Governing Temporary Vehicle Clearance for Carriers (ZBR Chapter Repeal) – Proposed Rule, Docket #39-0270-2201 Rules Governing Restricted Driving Permits (ZBR Chapter Rewrite) – Proposed Rule, Docket #39-0271-2201 Rules Governing Driver’s License Violation Point System and Accident Prevention Courses (ZBR Chapter Rewrite) – Proposed Rule, Docket #39-0272-2201 Rules Governing Administrative License Suspensions (ZBR Chapter Rewrite) – Proposed Rule, Docket #39-0273-2201 Rules Governing Accident Prevention Course (ZBR Chapter Repeal) – Proposed Rule, Docket #39-0344-2201 Rules Governing Highway Relocation Assistance for Persons Displaced by Public Programs (ZBR Chapter Rewrite) – Proposed Rule, Docket #39-0222-2201 Rules Governing Registration and Permit Fee Administration and Temporary Vehicle Clearance for Carriers (ZBR Chapter Rewrite, Fee Rule) – Proposed Rule, as well as Docket # 39-0343-2201 Rules Governing Utilities on State Highway Right-of-Way – Proposed Rule.
In Senate State Affairs, there were committee considerations of the Gubernatorial appointments of Kyle Wills as State Athletic Commissioner and Edward Lodge to the Public Utilities Commission, as well as Gubernatorial reappointment of Michael Elliott to the Idaho Energy Resources Authority and Jeffrey Anderson as Director of the State Liquor Division. They also reviewed Pending Rules, Docket #31-6101-2201 Rules for the Measurement of Stray Current or Voltage (Stray Voltage Rules) (ZBR Chapter Rewrite) – Proposed Rule and Docket #31-8101-2201 Energy Consumption Reporting Rules (ZBR Chapter Rewrite) – Proposed Rule.
Senator Scott Herndon presented S 1016 which amends existing law to provide that a public works contractor shall not be required to provide access to a multiple-occupancy restroom, multiple-occupancy shower facility, or multiple-occupancy changing room on any basis other than biological sex. This is a great bill is follow! It is scheduled to have its third reading and be voted on the Senate floor Monday, February 6th @ 11 am.
Senator Okuniewicz presented SJR 101 which proposes a state constitutional amendment to require an initiative petition to be signed by at least 6% of legal voters at the last general election in each legislative district.
In the Senate Resource and Environment Committee Paul Arrington, Executive Director & General Counsel at Idaho Water User’s Association presented RS 30112 Relating to Property Exempt from Taxation, RS 30113 Relating to Irrigation, and RS 30114 Water Management Account, Projects. The committee voted on the Gubernatorial appointment of Jordan Cheirrett of Lava Hot
Springs, ID to the Idaho Fish and Game Commission. Docket #58-0101-2101 Rules for the Control of Air Pollution in Idaho (ZBR Chapter Rewrite, Fee Rule) – Proposed Rule, as well as Docket #58-0102-2201 Water Quality Standards – Proposed Rulemaking has been review and voted on.
In the Senate Local Government and Taxation Committee, Senator Okuniewicz presented RS 30058 Relating to City Annexations, Senator Ricks (with Annette Dygert, Owyhee County Treasurer) presented RS 30153 Relating to County Treasurer Investments, and Senator Schroeder, Representative Cheatum, and Kate Haas presented RS 30147 Relating to Natural Gas Pipelines. Representative Ehlers and Senator Grow presented H 21 which amends existing law to revise the definition of “Internal Revenue Code.” This bill already passed the House side and will most likely be voted on the floor of the Senate this upcoming week.
Some Legislation to Watch:
H0022 Representative Bruce Skaug – SALES AND USE TAX – Adds to existing law to provide for the withholding of sales and use tax from city and county governments in certain instances.
Hoo24 Representative Megan Blanksma – WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT – Amends and adds to existing law to establish the Idaho Launch Grant Program and to revise provisions regarding the In-Demand Careers Fund.
H0027 Representative – EMPLOYEE MEDICAL INFORMATION PROTECTION ACT – Adds to existing law to implement the Employee Medical Information Protection Act.
Upcoming this Week: February 6th through the 10th
- Please continue to pray for our legislators and executive officers. They are running nonstop, 7 days a week. Remember they have committee meetings to attend, floor sessions to prepare for debate and voting, numerous meetings with peers and constituents, calls, texts, emails, visits from constituents, as well as proposed rules binders to read and research, legislation, and all the other activities in the community they are asked to participate in regularly. Keep in mind, I didn’t mention their family. Many of our legislators still have children at home that need their time and attention.
- Seek truth! The more time I spend at the Capitol throughout the session, the more I realize that truth is not always what is seems and it’s rarely what we are told. Build relationships with your legislators. Support and encourage them. Ask questions. Watch what is happening, don’t just believe what you hear. If you aren’t sure about something, ask the people directly. How to contact a legislator?
- There are a lot of bills beginning to move. Remember to check the legislative website regularly.
- Bill Tracker is a life saver.
- House Reading Calendars
- H 24 – Idaho Launch Grant Program, 3rd Reading and a vote on the House floor Monday, February 6th @ 11
- Senate Reading Calendar
- Senator Brain Lenney will be presenting S 1029 Monday, February 6th @ 1:30 pm in Senate Judiciary & Rules Committee Room WW54. The bill amends and adds to existing law to prohibit a child protection investigation based on a child’s immunization status and to provide that a court shall not grant an order terminating a parent and child relationship based on a child’s immunization status. Monday, February 6th Judiciary & Rules Committee Agenda
- Tuesday, February 7th @ Noon @ Bob’s Restaurant in Nampa TVRW aka. Treasure Valley Republican Women will have their monthly meeting. The topic will be all things EDUCATION.
- Thursday, February 9th is Capitol Clarity @ noon State Controller Brandon Woolf
- Caldwell School Board Meeting Monday, February 13th. The West Ada Teacher’s Union sent out the following plea. So sad!