Abby’s Blog

Senator Abby Lee

5370 Elmore Rd

Fruitland, ID  83619

Phone: (208) 250-6744

alee@senate.idaho.gov

 10924628_10203078530344156_7306948101911426883_n

Representative Ryan Kerby

5470 Hwy. 52

New Plymouth, ID  83655

Phone: (208) 739-0190

rkerby@house.idaho.gov

Idaho State Legislature

DISTRICT 9
Adams, Canyon, Payette & Washington Counties

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March 2016

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

 

It has been our distinct honor and privilege to represent District 9 during this past legislative session. As our work in Boise comes to an end, we look forward to reporting back to you what we’ve accomplished as well as the work that remains in order to grow our economy, protect our freedoms and insure the common good for the State of Idaho.

We invite you to join us at one of the following Legislative Update events to visit about the session, learn about new laws and hear what we were able to keep out of legislation this year:

  • April 4 – New Meadows, 5 p.m. City Hall
                    Weiser, 7 p.m., Weiser High School Auditorium
  • April 5 – New Plymouth, 5:30 p.m., Internet Truck Stop
  • April 7 – Middleton, 5:30 p.m., Purple Sage Elementary
    Payette, 7 p.m., Payette County Courthouse

While more than 500 pieces of legislation were heard this session, the most rewarding work we have done this session has been focused on addressing important issues for our District. You can find more in-depth information about every bill at www.legislature.idaho.gov but the following is a brief overview of a few pieces of key legislation we supported:

H491a – Repeal of Nonconsensual Common Law Liens – The protection against these harassing and nuisance liens was previously provided for just elected or public officials. Written by Representative Kerby and carried by Senator Lee, this legislation now extends this protection to all Idaho citizens.

S1303a – Digital Assets – This new bill creates a way for estate trustees (and loved ones of someone who passes away) to legally access digital assets in the same way they currently access hard copies of records, including online bank accounts, stocks or bonds in digital accounts, e-mail, social media accounts, etc. This bill was carried by Representative Kerby in the House and amended with Senator Lee’s help in the Senate.


EDUCATION:

S1293 – Parental involvement in Education – Last year the legislature directed the State Department to review and revise Idaho’s Common Core standards. That was done, and this bill further requires schools to explain curriculum to parents, and allows parents to opt their children out of activities.

H451 – K-3 Reading Literacy Initiative – This bill puts emphasis on, and sets guidelines for getting students up to grade level by the end of third grade. Plans will be implemented for each student who is behind, with the involvement of parents.

H458a – Dual Credit & Advanced Opportunities – Expands on the successful Fast Forward program written by Representative Kerby two years ago and provides funding for dual credit college courses for high school students.

H477a – Dual Credit College Scholarship BillRepresentative Kerby also drafted this bill to allow scholarships for students who earn college credits while in high school. It is a true public-private plan, with a matching scholarship required from business or industry.

H618 – Career Ladder – Funded the second year of the five year plan to improve teacher salaries. This is designed to help reduce the teacher shortage, while also including accountability through student growth goals.  Experienced teachers can also earn leadership money.

 

AGRICULTURE and ANIMALS

H531 – Security for Agricultural Facilities and Operations – The bill addresses breaches of biosecurity on agricultural facilities or operations in Idaho and establishes criminal sanctions for certain damages. 

H499 – Food SafetySenator Lee served on the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Advisory Committee and carried this legislation which designates the Idaho State Department of Agriculture as the delegated authority to regulate any FSMA rules in Idaho. This effort includes industry partners to help develop guidelines aimed at reducing federal intrusion and unnecessary regulation on Idaho agriculture activities.

H524 – Animal Cruelty – The bill defines torture to an animal and provides for felony penalties. The bill also allows a judge to order a pre-sentence investigation which includes a psychological evaluation of the abuser. Current and normal livestock practices allowed by law are exempt from provisions of this act.

 

STRENGTHENING THE SECOND AMENDMENT

S1389 – Concealed Carry Gun Law – S1389 creates consistency in Idaho’s concealed-carry laws to allow concealed-carry in both cities and counties, and provides clear guidance on the fundamental right of Idaho citizens regarding the carrying of concealed weapons.

 

CHILDREN and FAMILIES

H556a – Foster Care ReformSenator Lee carried this legislation and worked to bring all sides together on this critical effort. This bill provides much-needed court oversight for adoption and placement decisions in foster care matters. It also requires notice before moving foster children to new foster homes. This is a critical first step in improving foster care in Idaho.

 

TAXES

This session, an appropriate and conservative tax solution was not passed. We look forward to supporting a measure to repeal the sales tax on groceries as well as a reduction in personal income tax. These measures should also be met with a close look at exemptions in order to reduce the tax burden for all citizens. Senator Lee serves on the Senate Tax Policy Working Committee and Representative Kerby was a co-sponsor of the House efforts to reduce taxes. We both look forward to crafting predictable and conservative tax policy for the families and businesses in our state, while preserving our commitment to provide for education funding as promised.

 

HEALTHCARE

Unfortunately, the legislature adjourned without finding a full resolution to the urgent need to address health care. Not only does lack of health insurance affect families, but the cost of indigent care and catastrophic health fund payments is an increasing burden on counties and local property tax payers. We do not support expanding traditional Medicaid. There is little desire to rely on more federal dollars, so we need to find an Idaho solution to the problem facing thousands in our communities. Representative Kerby, Representative Boyle and Senator Lee all voted “Aye” to create a health grant program for the medically underserved.

 

FEDERAL LANDS

We are watching closely to see what happens as Utah pursues legal action on this issue. It is imperative we find ways to better manage all the lands in Idaho. We’ve heard loudly that just as we need to develop natural resources such as natural gas, timber and minerals, residents of District 9 also want to make sure these lands remain accessible for all citizens. Idaho has a long history of shared land use, and we remain committed to securing more state management of our lands.

 

THANK YOU!

Many of you have reached out during the legislative session to share your concerns and ideas about proposed legislation. We especially appreciate the kindness and civility of our conversations even when we disagreed about the particular policy solution. Having your input is invaluable in helping us analyze, assess and respond to the needs and the interests of the constituents in District 9.  We welcome a chance to explain any votes and discuss any concerns and ideas you have for our District and the Great State of Idaho. As always, please contact us with ideas, questions or concerns. We also look forward to seeing you at one of the upcoming legislative update events.

 

May God bless you and your family,

Senator Abby Lee & Representative Ryan Kerby

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