End of Session Newsletter
April 4, 2013
As the 2013 Legislative Session comes to a close, I want to thank all my friends and neighbors in District 20 who contacted me throughout the Session to share how Idaho’s laws and proposed legislation affect you, your families and our community. I believe that input from stakeholders and constituents is a vital part of the legislative process. I am humbled to serve constituents who care for their families and communities so deeply as to stay informed and communicate with their legislators. This is civic duty at its finest.
At the beginning of the Session, I was reelected to serve my colleagues as Assistant Majority Leader. I was also assigned to the Senate Transportation and Senate State Affairs Committees. Committees take the time to ask the hard questions of the parties involved, give the public and stakeholders an opportunity to testify, and vote on whether a bill should be sent to the Senate Floor for consideration of the Senate. Before the 2013 Session began, Legislators were aware that they would likely face three crucial issues - the budget, the health insurance exchange, and personal property tax - all greatly affecting the future of Idaho.
Idaho’s Constitution stipulates that the Legislature must balance the budget before adjournment Sine Die. The education budget was the so-called going home bill this year. As a result of the successful referenda on all three Students Come First laws, the Legislature knew that the education budget was going to be an important step in moving forward. We desired to move forward with an acknowledged need for improved opportunity for input from all stakeholders. Many of my colleagues needed more time to come to an agreement on the best way to move forward concerning the budget for the 2014 fiscal year. For that reason, the education budget did not pass the Senate the first time, extending the Session past the desired March 29th Sine Die date, and brought the Senate Education Committee and the Joint Finance and Appropriations Committee back to the drawing board. We now have a bill that puts more money into teacher salaries and will reward the best teachers for their service to our children and grandchildren.
PERSONAL PROPERTY TAX
Idaho’s personal property tax has been a pebble in the shoe of Idaho business owners for many years. As a small business owner, I have experienced taking an inventory of personal property and repeatedly paying taxes on this property. My opposition to the personal property tax is due to its unfairness. It seems unfair to pay sales tax on property at the time of purchase and then be required to continue to pay additional taxes on that same item until it is depreciated. As Idaho was able to budget replacement funding to the counties to make up for lost revenue to education and other expenses that benefit from the personal property tax, the Legislature was able to pass a repeal of the personal property tax with relative ease. I am grateful that Idaho’s small businesses will no longer have this tax as an impediment to business growth and Idaho will continue to be an attractive place to own and operate a business.
STATE HEALTH INSURANCE EXCHANGE
Perhaps the most contentious issue at the Idaho Legislature in recent history was the State Health Insurance Exchange. Its proponents argued that a State Exchange would be less costly, Idahoans could deal locally when purchasing health insurance through the exchange and that Idaho could repeal the exchange if it doesn’t end up working out. Its opponents stated that estimated costs have risen significantly and are unpredictable, that to vote for the state exchange is to fall in line with President Obama’s Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, giving away state sovereignty. Both sides of the state exchange argued that they were protecting Idaho’s sovereignty. I voted in opposition, offering a short debate to explain that I am uncomfortable with the long-term costs that will be incurred by the State to set up an exchange. I am uncomfortable with the lack of protection for issues of conscience, the unborn and for religious freedom. Having said that, I am proud of my colleagues for the respect and civility Senators have shown to each other, despite passionately held opinions on both sides of this issue.
This year the Idaho State Legislature passed many solid pieces of legislation for Idaho. I was honored to sponsor several pieces of legislation including:
* Senate Concurrent Resolution (SCR) 103 brings parties together to prepare a proposal for Idaho to be selected as one of the Federal Aviation Administration’s unmanned aircraft system test site.
* Senate Concurrent Resolution (SCR) 112 states the Idaho Legislature’s opposition to the legalization of marijuana in the State of Idaho for any purpose.
* Senate Joint Memorial (SJM) 101 requested the federal government uphold all federal drug-free policy in all states.
* S 1050 revises education requirements of a motor vehicle wholesale dealer’s license.
* S 1079 creates an Internet Crimes Against Children Unit in the Office of the Attorney General.
* S 1107 provides that counties may issue assessment notices electronically upon request by the taxpayer.
* S 1134 creates restrictions for the use of unmanned aircraft.
* S 1158 ratifies federal authority to establish State authority to manage a retirement system for police and firefighters.
* H 55 allows primary carriers Centurylink and Frontier Communications to call only their current customers.
* H 107 allows for early voting to be an alternative to absentee voting in Idaho counties.
* H 118 revises registration fees for aircraft registered with the Idaho Department of Transportation Division of Aeronautics and creates a minimum and maximum fee.
* H 161 clarifies dates required by the election consolidation legislation passed in 2012.
* H 181 creates a Capitol Maintenance Reserve Fund to maintain and repair the Capitol as needed.
* H 192 revises renewal and fee provisions for licenses to carry concealed weapons and provides for issuance of enhanced licenses to carry concealed weapons.
You can find more information about these and all bills printed during the 2013 Legislative Session online at www. Legislature.Idaho.Gov.
I cannot begin to fully express my love for our great State and my gratitude to the people of District 20 for the opportunity to serve and the strong sense of community they bring to West Boise and Meridian. Because of support from the people of Idaho, legislators, state leaders and stakeholders are able to work together to govern responsibly: balance the budget, maintain low taxes and protect Idaho’s state sovereignty. In that vein, I look forward to seeing my friends and neighbors in District 20 throughout the remainder of 2013 and look forward to the 2014 Legislative Session when my colleagues and I will meet again and continue to forge a strong, unified path forward for Idaho.
Senator Chuck Winder
Assistant Majority Leader,
Idaho State Senate
P.s. Thanks again to all who took time to contact me with your comments and concerns this Session. It is always helpful to know how Idaho’s laws affect you. If you would like to receive my weekly electronic updates during the legislative session, please send me an e-mail at CWinder@Senate.Idaho.Gov.
Idaho Senate Sine Die
Well the sun is out in Boise and the Senate has Sine Died the 2013 Legislature. It was a hectic session, but much was accomplished. It is such a honor and privilege to serve the citizens of District 20. Thanks to everyone for making this a historic session.
Education Budget Progress
As of this morning it looks like the Idaho Senate has found a path forward and is currently double checking with all stakeholders seeking their support. If we are able to get agreement and get it on paper in Bill form, we should be able to Sine Die on Thursday April 4th. This all assumes giving the Joint Finance and Appropriation Committee enough time to get their budget work done.
There will likely be scheduled public hearings on Wednesday, so keep an eye on the Idaho Legislature’s website for times and room locations to be posted.
Senator Winder E-Newsletter March 22, 2013
March 22, 2013
After an impassioned debate Thursday, the Senate voted to pass H 248, the bill to implement a state-based health insurance exchange. You’ll recall that the senate debated this issue a few weeks ago when my colleagues and I debate S 1042 for six and half hours. Still, my colleagues and I made one last attempt to persuade each other, vehemently debating their respective arguments in favor of a state exchange and our opposition to a state exchange. When my colleagues and I had said what we wanted to say, and three hours had passed, each Senator cast his vote the same way he or she had the first time, 23 for the state insurance exchange and 12 in opposition. I voted in opposition, offering a short debate to explain that I am not comfortable with the long-term cost that will be incurred by the State to set up an exchange. I am not comfortable with the lack of protection for issues of conscience, for the unborn and for religious freedom by the citizens of Idaho. Having said that, I am proud of my colleagues for the respect and civility Senate Members have shown to each other, despite passionately held opinions on both sides of this issue. What all members of the Majority Caucus can agree on is that if we could, we would repeal President Obama’s Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
As a sign that the 2013 Legislative Session is coming to a close, the Senate Transportation Committee met once, as opposed to twice this week. Tuesday we discussed
* S 1179 authorizes the Idaho Transportation Board to enter into agreements with contiguous states to allow the Idaho Transportation Department and contiguous state motor vehicle departments to collect fees and to issue driver’s licenses, identification cards, vehicle registrations and titles to tribal members in the same manner as would occur in the individual’s home state.
* H 171aa limits a county or highway district’s liability resulting from an unauthorized encroachment in public right-of-ways.
In the Senate State Affairs Committee we met jointly with the House State Affairs Committee on Wednesday to hear a presentation on the campaign to “Add the Words” lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender to the Idaho Human Rights Act. There was no legislation to act on, but the presentation itself was informative. Monday and earlier today (Friday), the Committee heard HCR 029, a Concurrent Resolution to Recognize the Idaho Public Utilities Commission on its 100th anniversary. We heard several other House bills including:
* H 193 provides that certain 911 fees shall be collected by the Tax Commission and transferred to the Idaho Emergency Communications Fund.
* H 90aa clarifies the transfer of certain liquor licenses and removes conflicting language from Idaho code.
* H 176 provides voting requirements for overseas voters.
* H 120aa prohibits the use of credit or debit cards to purchase lottery tickets and reverses rules authorizing such action.
It is likely that the 2013 Legislative Session will come to a close by Friday March 29th. If that is the case, I will send out an overview of the 2013 Legislative Session as opposed to a weekly newsletter next time. In the meantime, I appreciate all of your e-mails and phone calls on issues important to you and important to Idaho. Please continue to contact me on issues under review by the legislature by calling my office at 208-332-1307, by e-mailing me at CWinder@Senate.Idaho.Govmailto:CWinder@Senate.Idaho.Gov..>, by visiting my website, WWW.ChuckWinder.ComWWW.ChuckWinder.Com> and by finding me on Facebook. I wish you all a warm and happy first weekend of Spring!
Senator Chuck Winder
Assistant Majority Leader
Idaho State Senate
Senator Winder’s E-Newsletter March 15, 2013
March 15, 2013
Here at the Capitol we are on the home stretch and looking for things to finally start slowing down in Committees here in the next week or two. As the work in Committees slows, the time the Senators spend on the floor debating bills that come from Senate Committees and from the House will pick up in order to finish the session and send many of my colleagues from out of town back to their loving families. The House debated H 248, the bill to establish a state-based health insurance exchange, on Thursday for seven hours. It passed on a 41-29 vote and will now go to the Senate Commerce and Human Resources Committee. This bill combined components of S 1042, the Governor’s bill for a state-based health insurance exchange, which was previously passed by the Senate, and language for a trailer bill supported by sixteen freshman members of the House. H 248 added legislative oversight in the form of a 19-member panel to be appointed by Governor Otter, with 17 voting members, including three state legislators. This legislation to form a state-based insurance exchange continues to be the subject of contentious debate. As H 248 now comes to the House, should it come out of the Senate Commerce Committee, I will continue to support individual liberty by voting against a state-based health care exchange. The Senate Transportation Committee reviewed several pieces of legislation. We continued discussion from last week on H 41, the bill that clarifies when visually impaired individuals are considered competent to drive a motor vehicle. The Committee sent H 41 to the Senate Floor with a do-pass recommendation and I expect that the Senate will hear that bill sometimes next week. Other bills of interest heard in Committee this week:
* H 217 Specifies that the primary liability in cases of death or damages of drivers of vehicles loaned for temporary use without charge lies with the operator; the vehicle’s owner’s coverage shall be secondary.
* H 170 Allows local highway jurisdictions to perform market value estimates on property subject to eminent domain in the same manner as the Idaho Transportation Department.
* H 216 Exempts facilities used by federal power marketing agencies from the standards for lighting and marking guyed towers above 50 feet. In the Senate State Affairs Committee I had the opportunity to present S 1134, for which I am the sponsor. S 1134 establishes provisions in Idaho Code which would place restrictions on the use of unmanned aircraft systems. Other bills of interest reviewed in the Senate State Affairs Committee:
* H 159 Relating to the retail sale of liquor by the drink to authorize the issuance of a state retail liquor license to a federally recognized Indian tribe with certain restrictions.
* HCR 12 - A Concurrent Resolution to commemorate the City of Boise’s Sesquicentennial Anniversary.
* H 220 relating to horse racing to provide for historical horse racing in certain environments and for the distribution of funds.
* H 192 relating to licenses to carry concealed weapons to provide for an enhanced carry concealed weapons license.
* H 223 relating to concealed weapons to clarify the law on concealed carry permits for knives and to allow any lawfully possessed taser, stun gun or pepper spray. This morning the Senate passed Senate Concurrent Resolution 124, honoring five servicemen who fought and lost their lives in Afghanistan within the past year. The Senate Memorialized the five servicemen, taking time to remember them and relate stories of their lives as shared by their families. Many Senators rose to offer their condolences and thank the families for their sacrifices. The Governor addressed the families as well, thanking the families for their sacrifice. A common theme which seemed be echoed several times by Senators rising to speak during at the memorial was, “No greater love has any man that this, that he lay down his life for a friend.” I join with my colleagues in this sentiment to memorialize Idaho’s fallen heroes. Those memorialized include
* Daniel J Brown, 27 of Jerome, Twin Falls
* Chris J Workman, 33 of Rupert
* Cody O Moosman, 24 of Preston
* Ethan J Martin, 22 of Moyie Spring, Bonners Ferry
* Shane G Wilson, 20 of Kuna
I want to thank all of you who receive this newsletter and use it to stay up-to-date on the issues in Idaho during the Legislative Session. Again, I hope you will feel free to contact me with any ideas or concerns for legislation being reviewed by the legislature. You can reach me by calling my office, 208-332-1307, by e-mailing me at CWinder@Senate.Idaho.Govmailto:CWinder@Senate.Idaho.Gov..>, or visiting my website www.ChuckWinder.comwww.ChuckWinder.com>, and by finding me on facebook. Sincerely,
Senator Chuck Winder
Assistant Majority Leader
Idaho State Senate
Senator Winder’s E-Newsletter March 8, 2013
March 8, 2013
Monday March fourth was an exciting day at the Capitol. We celebrated Idaho’s Sesquicentennial, the 150th anniversary of President Lincoln signing the act that established the Idaho Territory. The Idaho State Historical Society organized a wonderful celebration which included Shoshone Paiute Drummers, a Lincoln impersonator and others dressed in Civil War era costumes. Idaho elementary school students sang and Sherie Buckner-Webb sang America the Beautiful amid a brightly shining sun as a brisk breeze blew across the flags that hung over the top of the Capitol steps. All of these elements, along with an invocation by Father Jesus Camacho, speeches by David Leroy, Governor Otter and the Lincoln impersonator, and the benediction by Josiah Pinkham of Nez Perce Tribe, set the stage to honor Lincoln and celebrate Idaho’s history. It was certainly a memorable event.
To top off the morning, David and Nancy Leroy donated an 1863 Portrait of Lincoln from their collection to the newly renamed, “Lincoln Auditorium” in honor of the occasion. I hope that everyone in Idaho will take the time to remember Idaho’s history by taking advantage of the Idaho Historical Society’s events as part of the sesquicentennial celebration. Included among these are an exhibit at the Idaho History Museum in Julia Davis Park entitled “Essential Idaho: 150 Things that Make the Gem State Unique,” open through December, The Lincoln Legacy Exhibition at the Idaho History Center on Old Penitentiary Road, and coming up next week, a lecture as part of the brown bag lecture series by Keith Brown, a State Historian. Keith will be speaking at the Washington Group Central Auditorium on “Inventing Idaho: living with 150 year old decisions.” For more information, please visit the Idaho State Historical Society’s website: www.history.idaho.govwww.history.idaho.gov>.
This week in the Senate Transportation Committee, we reviewed several pieces of legislation. Some that may be of interest include:
* H 167 Creates a consumer asset recovery fund requiring all licensed dealers to contribute to the fund. The fund will be used to help offset consumer related claims against auto dealers.
* H 169 Clarifies that legislation regarding specialty license plates is not subject to rejection or approval by ITD.
* HCR 8 States legislative findings and recognizes achievements of the Idaho Transportation Department (ITD).
* H 118 Requires that aircraft in Idaho be registered with ITD, and increases aircraft registration fees.
* H 41 Clarifies when visually impaired individuals are considered competent to drive a motor vehicle.
In the Senate State Affairs Committee this week, we discussed many interesting pieces of legislation, including:
* H 55 Relating to the Idaho Telephone Solicitation Act to conform Idaho’s statute governing Idaho’s No Telephone Solicitation List to regulations governing the National Do-Not -Call Registry which has been designated as Idaho’s List.
* S 1078 Relating to the addition of a new section 33-107D, Idaho Code, to prohibit public universities from discriminating against religious student groups.
* S 1079 Relating to Internet Crimes Against Children to create a unit in the Office of the Attorney General to aid in the investigation and prosecution of offenders.
* S 1080 Relating to county prosecutors to eliminate a conflict of interest that currently exists when they are the subject of a prosecution or they are personally being investigated by moving that authority to the Idaho Attorney General.
* H 107 Relating to Absentee Voting to provide alternative procedures for absentee and early voting.
* S 1105 Relating to the Legislative Department to allow the Legislative Council to engage the services of a certified public accountant to conduct audits.
* S 1108 Relating to Initiatives and Referendum Elections to address the balance between urban and rural voters in qualifying initiatives or referendums for the ballot.
The Senate State Affairs Committee discussed S 1108 over a number of days in order to allow for a large number of people who wanted to testify on the bill. There was some question over whether the three education bills that passed the legislature and went before the people for a referendum vote would have qualified for the ballot under the code changes that S 1108 proposes. For that reason I would like to make a clarification that there were only three counties out of forty-four that did not have six percent or more of registered voters sign the petition for a referendum. All three referendums would have still been on the ballot by a large margin. In short, S 1108 is not an attempt to constrain the power of the people to a put legislation to a referendum, but to address the balance between urban and rural voters.
On Thursday, the House Health and Welfare Committee heard testimony for several hours and afterward passed the new bill to establish a state-based health insurance exchange. This new bill, H 248, has emerged as the result of combining components of S 1042, the Governor’s health care exchange bill previously passed by the Senate, and drafted legislation written by 16 freshman members of the House to improve upon S 1042. As a new bill, H 248 will go to the Senate Health and Welfare Committee upon passage in the House.
The legislative process can be lengthy, as the health care exchange issues is exemplifying; however, it is for good reason that our founders set up our government to review legislation in this deliberative and sometimes long process. Laws which govern the lives of people should not be made rashly, without giving careful thought to points made by colleagues, all of whom will likely be drawing from public experience and input. In regard to the issue itself, I will continue to fight to defend individual liberty for all in Idaho.
Thank you for all of your correspondence regarding issues important to you and important to Idaho. Please continue to contact me regarding your concerns and how Idaho’s legislation affects you. You can contact me by e-mailing me at CWinder@Senate.Idaho.Govmailto:CWinder@Senate.Idaho.Gov..>, by calling my office at 208-332-1307, by visiting my website, WWW.ChuckWinder.comWWW.ChuckWinder.com> and by finding me on Facebook.
Senator Chuck Winder
Assistant Majority Leader
Idaho State Senate
Senator Winder E-Newsletter for 2/25/2013-3/1/2013
March 4, 2013
In Senate Transportation last week we heard sever presentations from the Community Planning Association as well as the Community Transportation Association of Idaho and the Local Highway Technical Assistance Council. Tuesday we heard
* S 1082 to create a “Volunteer EMS Specialty License Plate”
* H 66 to remove the Department of Agriculture from monitoring the state’s railroads, and maintains ITD’s role of providing state railroad information to the interagency working group. Thursday’s meeting was extended to 5pm. We met for three hours to discuss two bills relating to the 129,000 pound pilot project:
* S 1064 to statutorily remove the sunset clause on the 129,000 pound trucks pilot project and provides that those trucks can continue to operate on the 35 specific routes of the pilot project. This bill allows trucks to run permanently where they have been running as part of a pilot project. The pilot project demonstrated positive results.
* S 1117 to provide to that the authority having jurisdiction over its roads may designate routes for loads up to 129,000 pounds by using criteria based on integrity engineering standards and public safety established by ITD. This bill expands the programs statewide, giving the local highway district jurisdiction over routes where loads up to 129,000 pounds would be allowed to run. We discussed these bills for several hours, hearing from many different people with interests in this project. S 1064 passed with relative ease and agreement from stakeholders. There was controversy and lengthy debate, however in the discussion of S1117. Arguments in favor of the S 1117 stated that this bill would result in more efficient trucking, would mean fewer overall loads and save companies money. Several stakeholders testified against the legislation, voicing concerns that infrastructure such as some of Idaho’s bridges are already stressed and longer loads may pose a safety risk in Northern Idaho where narrow, windy road can create unsafe conditions for other motorists. Concerns for funding, geological (soil), and climate (heavy rain) were also issues raised in testimony against S 1117. With 5-4 split, the Committee voted to send S1117 to the Senate Floor with a do-pass recommendation. I was among the 4 on the Committee who voted against this. I was uncomfortable with the disunity among stakeholders.
In Senate State Affairs last week we printed several bills and heard bills including:
* H 42 relating to counties to revise the boundary descriptions of Gooding, Jerome, Lincoln and Minidoka Counties.
* HCR 5, a Concurrent Resolution to commemorate the Idaho Territorial Sesquicentennial by providing that the Legislative Auditorium be name the Abraham Lincoln Auditorium.
* S 1118 relating to financial interest to codify the independence between the three-tier system to ensure that none of the tiers are unduly influenced by the others in the marketing of beer products.
* S 1108 relating to Initiative and Referendum Elections to address the balance between urban and rural voters in qualifying initiatives or referendums for the ballot.
* S 1079 relating to Internet Crimes Against Children to create an Internet Crimes Against Children Unit in the Office of the Attorney General to aid in the investigation and prosecution of offenders.
On Tuesday the Senate debated Senate Concurrent Resolution (SCR) 112 and Senate Joint Memorial (SJM) 101 having to do with marijuana. SCR 112, resolving that the Idaho State legislature does not support the legalization of marijuana in Idaho for any purpose passed the Senate and is now in the House State Affairs Committee. SJM 101, requesting that the federal government uphold all federal drug-free policy in all states, however, did not pass the Senate.
Those who voted against the SJM shared in their debate that they were uncomfortable voting for a piece of legislation requesting that the federal government meddle in the state affairs of other states while Idaho endeavors to seek that the federal government respect Idaho’s state sovereignty and withdraw from her state affairs. On the other hand, I voted for SJM 101 with the belief that there is a proper role for the federal government to regulate the activities of interstate trafficking of illegal drugs. For example, the evidence clearly shows that that there is a significant increase in drug trafficking now that Oregon and Washington have legalized the use of marijuana for medicinal and recreational use, respectively. The debate for SJM 101 made for yet another interesting discussion in the theme of state sovereignty which seems to be woven throughout this 2013 Legislative Session.
I know I say this in every weekly E-Newsletter, but I continue to be grateful for your continued input on legislation being reviewed by the Legislature during this session. As I stated last week, I view constituent input as a vital part of the legislative process and give due attention to that input. Please continue to contact me by e-mailing me at CWinder@Senate.Idaho.Govmailto:CWinder@Senate.Idaho.Gov..>, calling me at 208-332-1307, by visiting my website at WWW.ChuckWinder.ComWWW.ChuckWinder.Com> and by finding me on Facebook.
Senator Chuck Winder
Assistant Majority Leader
Idaho State Senate
The Idaho Territorial Sesquicentennial Celebration at the Idaho Statehouse
We had a great kickoff celebration at noon today for Idaho’s Territorial Sesquicentennial. The student choir was great!!!! One hundred and fifty years ago today President Abraham Lincoln signed the Congressional legislation making Idaho a Territory.
The Lincoln impersonator did a great job of delievering the keynote address. The President reminded us all of the important role Idaho played in helping the Union Armies to prevail in the conflict between the states. The gold and silver discovered and mined in Idaho helped to provide the money necessary to support the war effort to maintain the Union.
Watch your local media outlets for dates and locations of other Sesquicentennial events coming to our communities all over Idaho.
Thanks President Lincoln for your support of our wonderful Territory and State!!!
Senator Winder E-Newsletter February 22, 2013
February 22, 2013
Yesterday the Senate debated S1042 for about six and a half hours. S 1042 is the Governor’s bill to establish a state-based health care exchange. Senators debated their points passionately, reasonably and with civility. I am consistently grateful to be a member of a body of legislators that is professional and respectful to each other, even when we do not agree on an issue. I will briefly share how I voted and some points I made in my floor debate. I went with my heart and voted against creating a state-based exchange. Prior to voting I shared with my colleagues that my head understands the argument in favor of creating a state-based exchange: that Idaho would manage her own exchange as opposed to defaulting to a federally run exchange. If all that that the state exchange consisted of was the state-run exchange, it might be a bit simpler. The problem is that there are many “federal mandates” that come with creating a state exchange. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is over 2,000 pages in length and the rules written so far are over 30,000 pages. After the federal mandates are all added, it feels much more like creating a state exchange is simply another way of going along with the terms of the Affordable Care Act. I used the analogy of the federal government being in a boat that has many holes in it. The bill would place a state-based exchange in a boat full of holes. This isn’t what I would want for my family and it isn’t what I want for Idaho. In my heart, I know it isn’t right. I want to thank you all for contacting me to let me know how you feel about this issue that carries many emotions with it. Not only did I vote with my heart, but based on the responses I received in my office for this issue, I’m confident I voted with a significant percentage of the people in my district as well. In Senate Transportation this week we discussed several bills:
* S1065 would Amend Idaho Code to exempt Citizen Band (CB) and amateur radio towers from being lighted, marked and painted.
* S1083 would enable specialty license plate owners to keep their plates even if the program is discontinued.
* S1081 promotes the issuance of non-expiring trailer/semi-trailer registrations and improves customer service.
* S1084 Provides remedies for road construction that blocks access or unreasonably diverts traffic from businesses. As a side note, if anyone is interested in the details of these pieces of legislation, you can find the language of the bills, as well as the minutes for the committee discussion and debates, online. The legislative website is www.legislature.idaho.govwww.legislature.idaho.gov>. Please remember that the committee secretaries may take a week or so after the meeting takes place to finalize the committee’s minutes.
In Senate State Affairs we had a busy week. We discussed four gubernatorial appointments, printed bills and took up S 1074, relating to the License to Retail Liquor Act to revise a provision for the issuance of a license for an equestrian facility. We also heard a presentation from the Director of the Department of Environment Quality on vehicle emission testing.
Wednesday was an important day for Idaho in the Senate State Affairs Committee as we heard two pieces of legislation that I sponsored, brought by the Association of Idaho Cities, Senate Concurrent Resolution (SCR) 112, which opposes legalization of marijuana in Idaho for any purpose, and Senate Joint Memorial (SJM) 101, requesting that the federal government uphold federal drug-free policy in all states. I believe it is important for Idaho to have this discussion considering the recent legalization of marijuana for recreational use in Colorado and in our neighboring State, Washington as well as the legalization of marijuana for medical use in neighboring Oregon. As a result of Oregon and Washington’s legalization, Idaho has seen an increase of marijuana trafficking along the routes into and out of Oregon and Washington. This is causing a huge problem for the Idaho State Police, working to keep drugs out of Idaho. Couple that with claims that Idaho has been targeted by the Marijuana Policy Project and others to become a medical marijuana state by 2014, necessitated Idaho’s law makers to bring the topic to the table for discussion. After two and half hours of heartfelt debate from both sides of the issue, the Committee voted to send SCR 112 and SJM 101 to the Senate Floor with a do-pass recommendation. The Senate will take SCR 112 and SJM 101 up for debate next week.
This week has seen some contentious and impassioned debates over issues that are very important to the future of Idaho. I want to take a moment to thank you again for your continued correspondence with me to discuss how you feel about these issues that will greatly affect the future of Idaho. I continue to read everything that comes across my desk as I believe your opinions and ideas are vitally important to the legislative process. Often, I take examples of your own experiences with legislative proposals into debate as examples of why proposals may or may not work for Idaho’s citizens. Please continue to make me aware of how Idaho’s legislative proposals affect you. You may reach me by e-mail at CWinder@Senate.Idaho.Govmailto:CWinder@Senate.Idaho.Gov..>, by calling my office at 208-332-1307, at my website, WWW.ChuckWinder.ComWWW.ChuckWinder.Com> and finding me on facebook.
Senator Chuck Winder
Assistant Majority Leader
Idaho State Senate
State Insurance Exchange Debate Today
The Senate will debate the Senate Health Insurance Exchange bill S 1042 on the floor of the Senate today beginning around 9:45 am. Should be an interesting debate to watch. If you would like to watch the live stream, here is the link: www.idahoptv.org/insession/legBody-wm.cfm?streamID…enate.