Saturday, December 7, 2013

December 2013 Political Soup

Pocatello, ID - On Wednesday, December 11th, the Bannock County Democrats will be holding a Christmas Potluck. Food will be served between 11:30 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. and we suggest that everyone bring a dish to share.

This event will be held at our headquarters, which are located at 355 Yellowstone Ave., across the street from Mama Inez restaurant. Entrances are at the front and back of the building, with parking in back.

We plan on celebrating the season and enjoying the fellowship of our fellow Bannock County residents. We will be recognizing some local Democrats for their contributions to the party this past year. A donation of canned food for the Idaho Foodbank is appreciated if you cannot bring a dish.

Political Soup is a great way to stay in touch with fellow Democrats in our area, as well as to pass around ideas and suggestions. We look forward to seeing you there! For more information about this event, please contact our organization at bannockdemocrats@gmail.com or call (208) 234-8908.

Friday, November 15, 2013

November 2013 Central Committee Meeting

democrat-signOn Tuesday, November 19th, the Bannock County Democrats will be holding their scheduled monthly meeting of the Bannock County Democrats' Central Committee, beginning at 7:00 PM and ending shortly after 8:00 PM. Precinct Captains are reminded to attend, and all county Democrats are invited to attend and participate.

This event will be held at our headquarters, which are located at 355 Yellowstone Ave., across the street from Mama Inez restaurant. Entrances are at the front and back of the building, with parking in back.

This month's agenda is available online here. The treasurer report for the month of November can be found here.

Attend Central Committee to get updated with what is happening with the party and our plans for the future. We look forward to seeing you there! For more information about this event, please contact our organization via email at chairman@bannockdemocrats.org, find us on Facebook or call us at (208) 234-8908.

Monday, October 21, 2013

October 2013 Central Committee Meeting

democrat-signOn Tuesday, October 22nd, the Bannock County Democrats will be holding their scheduled monthly meeting of the Bannock County Democrats' Central Committee, beginning at 7:00 PM and ending shortly after 8:00 PM. Precinct Captains are reminded to attend, and all county Democrats are invited to attend and participate.

This event will be held at our headquarters, which are located at 355 Yellowstone Ave., across the street from Mama Inez restaurant. Entrances are at the front and back of the building, with parking in back.

This month's agenda is available online here. The treasurer report for the month of October can be found here.

Attend Central Committee to get updated with what is happening with the party and our plans for the future. We look forward to seeing you there! For more information about this event, please contact our organization via email at chairman@bannockdemocrats.org, find us on Facebook or call us at (208) 234-8908.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The Great 2013 Chili Cook-Off


Pocatello, ID – The Bannock County Democratic Party is proud to present The Great Chili Cook-Off on Thursday, October 17, 2013 from 6 to 8 pm. The Cook Off will take place at the Pocatello Labor Temple, which is located at 456 N. Arthur Ave. in Pocatello.

The competition will pit teams comprised of local organizations including various union members against each other to see who has the best chili recipe in the greater Pocatello area. It will feature all you can eat chili and cornbread, a no host beer bar, and great music.

The event serves as a kickoff for the final phase of the campaign season for local Democratic candidates and proceeds will benefit the Bannock County Democratic Party.

Admission is $10 per adult (includes 3 voting tickets). Tickets can be purchased at the door or by calling (208) 234-8908. Attendees will cast their votes for their favorite chili and at the end of the night; the winning team will receive a trophy along with bragging rights for the year.

For more information, please call (208) 234-8908 or email bannockdemocrats@gmail.com.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

October 2013 Political Soup

Pocatello, ID - On Wednesday, October 9th, the Bannock County Democrats will be holding a Political Soup luncheon. We'll be serving up a yummy meal between 11:30 a.m. and 1:00 p.m.

This event will be held at our headquarters, which are located at 355 Yellowstone Ave., across the street from Mama Inez restaurant. Entrances are at the front and back of the building, with parking in back.

Former American Falls Mayor Amy W. Manning is scheduled to speak to us about her plans to run for the Pocatello City Council in November 2013. She is currently in a 5-way race for seat#4. She is currently a member of the board of directors for the Mystique Theatre and the Portneuf Valley Pride organization. She brings lots of experience to the table from her time as mayor of American Falls and an ability to work with citizens and government entities.

Political Soup is a great way to stay in touch with fellow Democrats in our area, as well as to pass around ideas and suggestions. Entrances are at the front and back of the building; with parking in back (please do not take parking spaces belonging to businesses along adjacent buildings). We look forward to seeing you there! For more information about this event, please contact our organization at bannockdemocrats@gmail.com or call(208) 234-8908.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Education Rally

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Pocatello, ID - Parents, teachers, legislators and members of the public from across Southeast Idaho will gather together this Saturday for an Idaho by the Numbers rally to voice their support for the education of children and our young people.

Idaho by the Numbers is jointly sponsored by the Bannock County Democratic Party and the Idaho Democratic Party. The rally will be held on Saturday, September 28 starting at 11am at the corner 5th Avenue and Humboldt Street in Pocatello.

The rally will be addressed by former Marsh Valley High School teacher and state legislator, Bert C. Marley of McCammon, current state Senator Roy Lacey, and retired teacher of drama, speech and English, Dr. JoAn Dilweg among others.

Join with others to hear about constructive solutions to the problems facing Idaho schools and to demonstrate your support for Idaho education.

For more information, please call(208) 234-8908.

Monday, September 23, 2013

September 2013 Central Commitee Meeting

democrat-signOn Tuesday, September 24th, the Bannock County Democrats will be holding their scheduled monthly meeting of the Bannock County Democrats' Central Committee, beginning at 7:00 PM and ending shortly after 8:00 PM. Precinct Captains are reminded to attend, and all county Democrats are invited to attend and participate.

This event will be held at our headquarters, which are located at 355 Yellowstone Ave., across the street from Mama Inez restaurant. Entrances are at the front and back of the building, with parking in back.

This month's agenda is available online here. The treasurer report for the month of September can be found here.

Attend Central Committee to get updated with what is happening with the party and our plans for the future. We look forward to seeing you there! For more information about this event, please contact our organization via email at chairman@bannockdemocrats.org, find us on Facebook or call us at (208) 234-8908.

Friday, September 13, 2013

An Evening at Rosewood

Pocatello — Those interested in supporting the election campaign of Roger Chase for Pocatello Mayor are invited to attend a fundraising event on Thursday, September 17th from 6:00PM to 8:00PM. This event will take place at the Rosewood Reception Center, which is located at 1499 Bannock Hwy in Pocatello. Catch up with old friends, meet new ones and come hear about Roger's plans for the issues of our city and how we can build a Better Tomorrow for all residents. To RSVP or for more information about this event, please contact John Perryman at (208) 760-0234. More information about the Roger Chase campaign can be found here.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

September 2013 Political Luncheon: Education Issues in Idaho

Pocatello, ID — Education is the topic of choice in Idaho from Common Core standards, education funding levels, wi-fi contracts to online education for students. The Bannock County Democrats welcome the Idaho Education Association's Director of Public Policy Bert Marley to speak to Bannock County residents about these hot button issues at their monthly Political Soup luncheon on Wednesday, September 11th.

This event will be held at our headquarters, located at 355 Yellowstone Ave., across the street from Mama Inez restaurant. Delicious soup and bread will be served between 11:30am and 1pm.

Bert Marley started his career in education at the ground level. He was a teacher in McCammon where he taught government and social studies for 23 years. He served in the legislature for almost a decade including three terms as a State Senator. He was a candidate for the office of State Superintendent of Public Instruction in 2006 but lost in a tough primary race. Since 2008, he has represented the interests of teachers across the state for the Idaho Education Association.

Political Soup is a great way to stay in touch with fellow Democrats in our area, as well as to pass around ideas and suggestions. Entrances are at the front and back of the building; with parking in back (please do not take parking spaces belonging to businesses along adjacent buildings). We look forward to seeing you there. For more information about this event, please contact our organization at bannockdemocrats@gmail.com or call (208) 234-8908.

Friday, August 9, 2013

August 2013 Political Luncheon: Common Core Standards in Idaho

Pocatello, ID —  Idaho's new standardized education curriculum is the topic for discussion Wednesday, August 14th at the Bannock County Democrats Political Soup luncheon. ISU Assistant Professor Dr. Wendy Ruchti will be the speaker.

"You've heard the talk on both sides," said Ruchti of her presentation, "but come and find out what the Common Core State Standards (now renamed the Idaho Core Standards) really are, and ask questions, too." Ruchti will discuss the history of the standards, how they were created, their design, who supports and doesn't support them and why, and their potential future. Along the way she will address several "myths and rumors" about them to help listeners develop an informed opinion of the standards.

Ruchti's career has emphasized Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education. She is a National Science Teachers Association online advisor and serves on the ISU Undergraduate Curriculum Council and as an Idaho Science Teachers Association Region 5 Board Member. She has a bachelor's degree from Brigham Young University with a master's degree and PhD in Education from the University of Idaho.

The Idaho Legislature approved the Idaho Core Standards in 2011. This year teachers across the state will begin teaching the new standards in mathematics and English Language Arts after two years of professional development. For more information, see http://www.sde.idaho.gov/site/ICS/.

This event will be held at the Bannock County Democratic headquarters, 355 Yellowstone Ave., across the street from Mama Inez restaurant. Delicious salad will be served between 11:30 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. Political Soup is a great way to stay in touch with fellow Democrats in our area, as well as to pass around ideas and suggestions. Entrances are at the front and back of the building; with parking in back (please do not take parking spaces belonging to businesses along adjacent buildings). We look forward to seeing you there. For more information about this event, please contact our organization at bannockdemocrats@gmail.com or call (208) 234-8908.

Education Rally: Help Wanted

Willing to make a difference for education? Here's how you can! We are planning a series of events in September to highlight the current state of public education and its impact on our children. We're making plans and need your help. Can you take photos or write press releases? Would you like to put up posters or are you willing to pass out literature? Would you like to organize a rally or help others to? Could you recruit speakers about education? Would you like to talk at a rally, 2-5 minutes only! As you can see, there's lots to do and your help will make a tremendous difference! To help in any way, please contact us by phone at (208) 234-8908 or email us at bannockdemocrats@gmail.com soon as possible.

P.S. Please contact us by August 16, 2013 at the latest.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Keep Pocatello Moving Forward to Hold Fundraiser

caucusPocatello, ID — Those interested in supporting the re-election campaigns of Pocatello city councilmen Roger Bray and Gary Moore, as well as the campaign of Roger Chase for Mayor of Pocatello are invited to attend a fundraising event this Thursday, July 25th beginning at 6:30 PM. This event will take place at 2623 W. Old Highway 91 just outside Inkom, and is being hosted by Tom Nestor, Kevin Lish and L.D. Wolfley.

Hors d'oeuvres will be served. The event will be outdoors, so please bring a lawn chair or blanket. No children, please.

Catch up with old friends, meet new ones, speak with the candidates and hear about their plans to strengthen our community and keep Pocatello moving forward.

To RSVP or for more information please contact Tom Nestor at 234-0046 or James Ruchti at 251-4104.

What: Fundraising event for Pocatello Mayoral & City Council candidates, sponsored by Keep Pocatello Moving Forward

When: Thursday, July 25th, 2013 beginning at 6:30 PM

Where: 2623 W. Old Highway 91 just outside Inkom

Contact: Tom Nestor at 234-0046 or James Ruchti at 251-4104

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Democrats in Pocatello focus on Local Issues

Bannock County is a diverse area and our local party has formed several caucuses to represent that diversity. By having various caucuses, we can better focus on issues that concern Bannock County residents. There is a group for everyone including Latinos, LDS Democrats, and women. We are proud to be part of such wonderful group of people who deserve the very best from our government at all levels.

Democratic caucus in Pocatello focuses on issues, not parties

BY CHRIS COLE
Local News 8
Published: July 20, 2013

POCATELLO, Idaho - Idaho Democratic party caucuses met in Pocatello Saturday. The hot topic: how to get more involved in local politics.

But as Jennifer Martinez, the political director of the Idaho Democratic Party said, they're focusing on issues rather than political parties.

Martinez grew up in the small town of Wendell but has worked her way up to where she is now. She decided to come back to Idaho after getting her education because she wanted to make an impact where she grew up.

She says one hurdle she faces is overcoming the political party lines that make younger generations wary.

"I think they're very off-put by the partisanship that is going on, and all the bickering,” Martinez said. “So they don't like to associate with a party. So our goal is to focus on issues specifically, because everyone cares about something.”
Martinez says the Idaho Democratic Party distances itself from the national party, simply because Idaho's important issues are different.
She says the party focuses on the economy, and how to bring better jobs.
"And that leads into education, and making sure that we have a skilled workforce that is able to do those jobs we're trying to bring into Idaho,” Martinez said. “We want those higher paying jobs that will sustain Idaho families."
In the 2012 November election, the party lost three seats in the state legislature. Martinez says they're not worried though, because their overall numbers have stayed the same, but there's always more to do.
"What we're hoping to do is to make sure we're activating our democratic base and identifying new democrats in Idaho,” she said, “and making sure they get out to the polls and vote."
Today they focused on how to reach out to the community. They also let people know if they're not satisfied with a candidate, there may be someone out there in the Democratic party, though Idaho is traditionally a Republican state.
"There are specific counties where we feel if the caucuses can get involved and activate certain groups of people,” Martinez explained. “we can start to gain some traction."
Martinez also says they focus on small local elections, and voter turnout. She says it's even more important to let your voice be heard on those local issues that may affect you more.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

2nd Annual BBQ & Picnic

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Pocatello — The Bannock County Democratic Party is holding its 2nd Annual BBQ & Picnic Fundraiser on Tuesday, August 6th. This event is being held at the Upper Ross Park pavilion in Pocatello, beginning at 6:00 PM.

The menu will be barbecued beef by Lin Whitworth along with salads and dessert items provided by the Democratic Women's Caucus. There will also be a no-host beer bar along with a silent auction of Great Treasures.

Come and join in on the fun! Meet your District 29 legislators, and Pocatello city council candidates. It's a great way to help the party raise needed campaign funds for the 2014 election cycle.

Tickets are $25 for couples, $15 for individuals, and kids under twelve years old for $5.

For more information call 234-8908.

July 2013 Central Committee Meeting

democrat-signOn Tuesday, July 30th, the Bannock County Democrats will be holding their scheduled monthly meeting of the Bannock County Democrats' Central Committee, beginning at 7:00 PM and ending shortly after 8:00 PM. Precinct Captains are reminded to attend, and all county Democrats are invited to attend and participate.

This event will be held at our headquarters, which are located at 355 Yellowstone Ave., across the street from Mama Inez restaurant. Entrances are at the front and back of the building, with parking in back.

Attend Central Committee to get updated with what is happening with the party and our plans for the future. We look forward to seeing you there! For more information about this event, please contact our organization via email at chairman@bannockdemocrats.org, find us on Facebook or call us at (208) 234-8908.

IDP Summer Activist Tour

caucusWhat do LDS, Latinos, Women, the LGBTA community, Veterans and young people between the ages of 16-35 all have in common? They all have a powerful reason to care about electoral politics and making sure our State is headed in the right direction. If you want to see what could happen when a group of passionate, caring people with similar interests come together please join us to learn more about the Idaho Democratic Caucuses. For a better, balanced Idaho!

The IDP Summer Activist Tour is travelling to meet and welcome supporters and introduce the caucuses. The tour is making a stop in Pocatello on Saturday, July 20th, from 1:30pm to 5:30pm. Visiting from Boise for this will be Jennifer Martinez, Tom Hamilton, Barb Harris and Representative Sue Chew. This event will be held at our headquarters, located at 355 Yellowstone Ave., across the street from Mama Inez restaurant.

Entrances are at the front and back of the building, with parking in back (please do not take parking spaces belonging to businesses along adjacent buildings). We look forward to seeing you there! For more information about this event, please contact our organization at chairman@bannockdemocrats.org or call (208) 234-8908. This event is sponsored by the Idaho Democratic Women’s Caucus and the Idaho Democratic Party.

Monday, July 15, 2013

July 2013 Political Soup

stephen weegPocatello — On Wednesday, July 10th, the Bannock County Democrats will be holding a Political Soup luncheon. Our speaker will be Idaho Health Insurance Exchange Board Chairman Stephen Weeg of Pocatello, speaking on the Idaho Health Insurance Exchange and the general implementation of the Affordable Care Act. The IHIE is authorized by the Idaho Legislature to set the rules and regulations for implementing a state-based exchange. The Board must establish an exchange by January 1, 2014, as required by federal law. It is empowered by State law to develop an operating plan and contract for required services. (http://gov.idaho.gov/priorities/Exchange.html).

This event will be held at our headquarters, located at 355 Yellowstone Ave., across the street from Mama Inez restaurant. Delicious soup and bread will be served between 11:30 a.m. and 1:00 p.m.

Stephen Weeg has a 38 year career in health and human services leadership in Idaho. For the past seven years Weeg was the Executive Director for Health West, a community and migrant health center with six clinics in southeast Idaho. He is also a member of the Portneuf Health Care Foundation Board, Pocatello Hospital, LLC Board. He has a bachelor's degree from the University of Notre Dame and an master's degree in Counseling from Idaho State University.

Political Soup is a great way to stay in touch with fellow Democrats in our area, as well as to pass around ideas and suggestions. Entrances are at the front and back of the building, with parking in back (please do not take parking spaces belonging to businesses along adjacent buildings). We look forward to seeing you there! For more information about this event, please contact our organization at chairman@bannockdemocrats.org or call (208) 234-8908.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

ROGER CHASE WOULD LIKE TO MEET WITH YOU TO TALK ABOUT POCATELLO'S FUTURE

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Bring your ideas and vision for our town. Roger will present his goals and lead an open discussion. Lunch will be provided, but donations to cover costs will be welcome. Please RSVP to jperryman@mayorchase.com

WHEN: July 9th, Noon

WHERE: Oliver’s Restaurant, 130 South 5th, Pocatello

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Students are Our Future

Studies have shown that having a college education improves a person's quality of life and their employment opportunities. We believe students are our future and we strongly support education in Idaho at all levels. With more people than ever going to college, we call upon Congress to keep interest rates for student loans down for all students. 

‘Invest in students’: Bannock Democrats glean support for lower loan rates

By Michael O'Donnell
Idaho State Journal
Published: June 29, 2013 3:38 am

POCATELLO — The cost of taking out a federal loan to attend college will get more expensive beginning Monday and a group of residents, including many Bannock County Democrats, staged a protest at Oak Street and Yellowstone Avenue on Friday at noon.
The interest rate on federal subsidized Stafford loans will increase from 3.4 to 6.8 percent July 1. The rate change will impact an estimated 7 million college students in the U.S. Currently, a student who takes out a Stafford loan pays 3.4 percent interest on that loan amount beginning six months after graduation from college.
Friday's group held up signs calling for keeping the student loan interest rate at 3.4 percent and asking motorists to honk their horns if they supported education.
Attempts to keep the interest rate from doubling have become mired in a congressional battle over the budget and the federal sequester.
“We need to invest in students,” said Bannock County Democratic Party Chairman Dave Finkelnburg. “There's plenty of other places to balance the budget.”
Since Stafford loans are usually reserved for students with the least income, a doubling of the interest rate hurts students from poorer families the most, according to Finkelnburg.
“The state is pushing kids to go to college and the Congress is doubling the cost,” he said.
If a student took out the maximum $23,000 in loans over four years of college, they would currently pay about $782 in interest on that loan per year. That amount will grow to $1,564 when the Stafford loan interest rate doubles.
“We need to invest in our students because they are the future,” Finkelnburg said.
Joining the protest was Carol Bodily, a non-traditional Idaho State University student who just completed her bachelor's degree in human resources management at the age of 60.
“I'm still paying my student loans,” she said. “There is no way I could have gone to college without the loans.”
Bodily's interest rate will remain at 3.4 percent, but she said she is concerned about people who are trying to further their education from this point forward. She said families with limited incomes will suffer the most and many of their children will not go on to take college courses.
Although Idaho has a high school graduation rate of 88.4 percent, only 23.9 percent of the state's adult population has at least a bachelor's degree.
The average debt incurred by a college graduate in the U.S. in 2012 reached nearly $27,000. The average student loan debt in Idaho was $24,100 and 66 percent of all Idaho college graduates finished college with some indebtedness, according to the CNN Money website.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Noon Rally

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If Idaho's Senators fail to act on a bill passed by the House, the interest rate on Stafford student loans will double, from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent beginning July 1. This will drastically increase the cost of attending Idaho State University as well as other state colleges, job training programs and adult skills development.

"Congress should be investing in young students. They are our future. It's wrong that Congress will hide behind its own inaction and try to balance the budget by charging high school graduates much, much more for striving to better their education," said Dave Finkelnburg, chairman of the local Democrats. "The cost of college has increased over 50% just in the last 10 years. Help us tell our Senators to keep college affordable!"

According to the Center for American Progress, more than 7 million students and their families rely on federally subsidized Stafford loans to help pay for college. These loans are handled through the U.S. Department of Education and currently hold an interest rate of 3.4 percent. Unless Congress acts immediately, that rate will double, and thousands of students in Idaho will see interest rates soar to 6.8 percent on new loans taken out in the next year. This will cause a steep rise in their loan burden and effectively increase the cost of obtaining a college degree.

Doubling the cost to attend college is a moral and financial travesty that should not be allowed to happen. All area residents and students concerned by the possibility of student loans rising in July are encouraged to attend the noon rally Friday, June 28th at the corner of Oak and Yellowstone in Pocatello. We look forward to seeing you there! For more information about this event, please contact our organization via email at chairman@bannockdemocrats.org, find us on Facebook or call us at (208) 234-8908.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

June 2013 Central Committee Meeting

democrat-signOn Tuesday, June 25th, the Bannock County Democrats will be holding their scheduled monthly meeting of the Bannock County Democrats' Central Committee, beginning at 7:00 PM and ending shortly after 8:00 PM. Precinct Captains are reminded to attend, and all county Democrats are invited to attend and participate.

This event will be held at our headquarters, which are located at 355 Yellowstone Ave., across the street from Mama Inez restaurant. Entrances are at the front and back of the building, with parking in back.

Attend Central Committee to get updated with what is happening with the party and our plans for the future. We look forward to seeing you there! For more information about this event, please contact our organization via email at chairman@bannockdemocrats.org, find us on Facebook or call us at (208) 234-8908.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

June 2013 Political Soup

larry kenckPocatello — On Wednesday, June 12th, the Bannock County Democrats will be holding a Political Soup luncheon. We'll be serving up some yummy soup and bread between 11:30 a.m. and 1:00 p.m.

This event will be held at our headquarters, located at 355 Yellowstone Ave., across the street from Mama Inez restaurant.

Our speaker will be new Idaho Democratic Party chairman Larry Kenck via speakerphone. Kenck is a fourth generation Post Falls, Idaho native who lives in Post Falls. He twice ran for the state senate and has served as Kootenai County Democratic Party Chair. He founded the North Idaho Democracy Dinner, which is in its 12th consecutive year. Kenck was a Business Agent with the Teamsters Union representing North Idaho and Eastern Washington and did political work and trainings for the International Brotherhood of Teamsters around the United States. He was spokesman for the Repeal Right to Work effort and worked as a member of the Idaho State AFL-CIO. He currently sits on the Idaho State Industrial Commission Advisory Board. After retiring from the Teamsters, he worked around the country as a Field Director and lobbyist with the Coalition Against Bigger Trucks both federally and in 38 states. He will tell attendees about his vision for the party for the next 17 months.

Political Soup is a great way to stay in touch with fellow Democrats in our area, as well as to pass around ideas and suggestions. Entrances are at the front and back of the building, with parking in back (please do not take parking spaces belonging to businesses along adjacent buildings). We look forward to seeing you there! For more information about this event, please contact our organization at chairman@bannockdemocrats.org or call (208) 234-8908.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Chris Carlson Book Signing

Chris Carlson Book Signing

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Keep Pocatello Moving Forward

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May 23, 2013, Pocatello, ID — Are you ready to MOVE FORWARD Pocatello? Well, you have a unique opportunity to do just that. On Wednesday, May 29th beginning at 5:30 p.m. you will have the opportunity to help Pocatello keep Moving Forward!

This event is being held to thank Councilwoman Nye, Councilman Bray, Councilman Moore, and Human Relations Advisory Chair Susie Matsuura for their courageous support on April 18th for the Non-Discrimination Ordinance. Their continued support will help to keep Pocatello Moving Forward toward true equality for the citizens of Pocatello.

This event will be held at the home of Idaho State Senator Roy Lacey, 13774 Trail Creek Road. Your donations will be accepted to help the elections campaigns of City of Pocatello Candidates for mayor and city council. To RSVP or for more information please contact James Ruchti at 251-4104.

May 2013 Central Committee Meeting

democrat-signOn Tuesday, May 28th, the Bannock County Democrats will be holding their scheduled monthly meeting of the Bannock County Democrats' Central Committee, beginning at 7:00 PM and ending shortly after 8:00 PM. Precinct Captains are reminded to attend, and all county Democrats are invited to attend and participate. Last month's meeting minutes can be found here. The treasurer's report can be found here.

This event will be held at our headquarters, which are located at 355 Yellowstone Ave., across the street from Mama Inez restaurant. Entrances are at the front and back of the building, with parking in back.

Attend Central Committee to get updated with what is happening with the party and our plans for the future. We look forward to seeing you there! For more information about this event, please contact our organization via email at chairman@bannockdemocrats.org, find us on Facebook or call us at (208) 234-8908.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

May 2013 Political Soup

carolyn meline

elainesmith

roylacey

Pocatello — On Wednesday, May 8th, the Bannock County Democrats will be holding a Political Soup luncheon. We'll be serving up some yummy soup and bread between 11:30 a.m. and 1:00 p.m.

This event will be held at our headquarters, located at 355 Yellowstone Ave., across the street from Mama Inez restaurant.

Our speakers will be Idaho State Senator Roy Lacey and State Representatives Elaine Smith and Carolyn Meline from District #29. They will be discussing the results of the 2013 legislative session and answering your questions.

Political Soup is a great way to stay in touch with fellow Democrats in our area, as well as to pass around ideas and suggestions. Entrances are at the front and back of the building, with parking in back (please do not take parking spaces belonging to businesses along adjacent buildings). We look forward to seeing you there! For more information about this event, please contact our organization at chairman@bannockdemocrats.org or call (208) 234-8908.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Concerned Citizens Meeting

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The Bannock County Democrats will be hosting a Concerned Citizens meeting to discuss plans for bringing greater experience and leadership to Pocatello city government.

The public meeting will be held at Idaho State University's Pond Student Union's Canoe Room on April 27th, at 10am.

We look forward to meeting and talking with Pocatello residents.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

April 2013 Central Committee Meeting

democrat-signOn Tuesday, April 30th, the Bannock County Democrats will be holding their scheduled monthly meeting of the Bannock County Democrats' Central Committee, beginning at 7:00 PM and ending shortly after 8:00 PM. Precinct Captains are reminded to attend, and all county Democrats are invited to attend and participate. Last month's meeting minutes can be found here. The treasurer's report can be found here.

This event will be held at our headquarters, which are located at 355 Yellowstone Ave., across the street from Mama Inez restaurant. Entrances are at the front and back of the building, with parking in back.

Attend Central Committee to get updated with what is happening with the party and our plans for the future. We look forward to seeing you there! For more information about this event, please contact our organization via email at chairman@bannockdemocrats.org, find us on Facebook or call us at (208) 234-8908.

April 2013 Legislative Forum

carolyn meline

elainesmith

roylacey

District No. 29 Legislators Elaine Smith, Roy Lacey, and Carolyn Meline in conjunction with the Bannock County Democrats will be hosting a Legislative Forum to give Bannock County residents an update on what happened in this year's Idaho Legislature session.

The public meeting will be held at Pocatello City Hall, located at 911 N. 7th Ave. on April 20th, at 10am.

They will discuss the 2013 Legislative Session and answer questions from the public. They look forward to meeting and talking with Bannock County residents.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

City Council Meeting

discriminationA reminder: Thursday, April 18th the Pocatello City Council will meet to again take up the Non-Discrimination Ordinance and, hopefully, vote on its passage. There was a tremendous crowd of supporters for the ordinance and a large group of people speaking on its behalf and why it is necessary in order to help Pocatello's LGBT citizens fight against discrimination in housing and the workplace. We strongly encourage you to attend the next meeting, beginning at 6:00 PM this Thursday, April 18th at Pocatello City Hall, 911 N. 7th Ave.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Week 10 at the Legislature

elainesmithAfter seven hours of debate House Bill 248 passed from the House of Representatives on a vote of 41-29. Only one Democrat debated, so essentially it was Republican vs. Republican debating. The 13 Democrats made the difference on the passage of this bill for a State Health Insurance Exchange. Speaker Bedke did a good job with his fairness for both sides. Thank you for all on both sides who sent me your opinion.

In Revenue and Taxation Committee on Friday, March 15, House Bill 286 was passed to receive tax credits up to ten million for scholarships to private schools. This bill has come up in previous years and failed. The Idaho School Administrators and School Boards opposed this bill. I understand there will be a new personal property tax bill introduced next week, but it won’t be until Tuesday or Wednesday because this committee is not meeting Monday. I encourage you to investigate any new bills on personal property tax elimination and send your comments first to members of that committee, then to the rest of the House members. I am hoping a compromise will happen to hold harmless local government and school districts, while helping small business with personal property tax elimination.

The Comprehensive State Water Plan, House Bill 38, is on the third reading so should be heard sometime this coming week. This plan was adopted by the Idaho Water Resources Board in November of 2012, which Roger Chase serves as Chairman. There was a last minute effort by some legislators in House Resources & Conservation Committee to change this water plan, but it failed.

There are several education bills, many which are parts of Proposition 1, which are being debated in the Legislature. Senate Bill 1089 passed the House this week by a vote of 54-15-1 which repeals early retirement incentives for teachers. A couple of retired educators, who are now legislators, did explain that it varied from $4 to 11 million in program savings each year. The bill now goes to the Governor.

Recently I contacted the Speaker of the House and the House Majority Leader to call their attention to Senate bill 1100 Health Care Ministries. There was an Idaho Supreme Court ruling at the end of February which declares health care ministries are not insurance entities. It will be interesting to see if we will still hear this bill because it is law now.

H88—Known as the HOME Act, the bill passed the House on Monday with a vote of 62-7-1. This bill provides a tax credit to new businesses or businesses that have expanded for new employees, including veterans.

So far this session, I have voted yes on 4 gun bills and 1 knife bill, but I could not vote for House Bill 219 because it pitted U.S. Marshalls against local law enforcement. Before I debated and voted on the bill I did receive an Attorney General’s opinion and talked with the Bannock County Sheriff.

Thank you to all who have contacted me urging me to vote no on Senate Bill 1117 on the overweight/oversize big trucks. This week the House Transportation Committee had a marathon meeting on this bill, but they have not voted yet on the issue.

Also, thanks to all who have contacted me about House Concurrent Resolutions 21 and 22 about your opinion on transfer of federal lands to Idaho to manage. This could impact up to 33 million acres in Idaho. Currently the goal of the House and Senate leadership is to end the Legislative Session on March 29th. We shall see if we make that date.

Please continue to contact me on issues of concern to you. The way to contact me is by e-mail at esmith@house.idaho.gov, toll free number is 1-800-626-0471, my office number is 208-332-1031 or my home number is 237-1462. Live streaming of meetings on the internet can be found at www.idahoptv.org/insession and current legislative information is located at www.legislature.idaho.gov. Thank you for the privilege of serving as your District 29 State Representative.

Written by Representative Elaine Smith.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

April 2013 Political Soup

davidmattsonPocatello — On Wednesday, April 10th, the Bannock County Democrats will be holding a Political Soup luncheon. We'll be serving up some yummy soup and bread between 11:30 a.m. and 1:00 p.m.

This event will be held at our headquarters, located at 355 Yellowstone Ave., across the street from Mama Inez restaurant.

Our speaker will be new School District No. 25 member David Mattson. Mattson is a retired small business owner who has a college degree in sociology, is father-in-law of Gino Mariani, volunteers time as a (Court-appointed Special Advocate) CASA advocate. Mattson says he believe he has a lot to learn about the school board but the first thing he want people to know is that he willing to speak with and listen to others and do his best to answer their questions.

Political Soup is a great way to stay in touch with fellow Democrats in our area, as well as to pass around ideas and suggestions. Entrances are at the front and back of the building, with parking in back (please do not take parking spaces belonging to businesses along adjacent buildings). We look forward to seeing you there! For more information about this event, please contact our organization at chairman@bannockdemocrats.org or call (208) 234-8908.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Week 12 at the Capitol

roylaceyYes, it has been 12 weeks and while all the estimates were that this week would be sine die (the end), a last minute disagreement over the K-12 budget and the inability of some to come to a consensus will result in this session lasting at least into next week. As you have been reading my perspective for the last 11 weeks I have a treat for you. My wife Renee has spent the entire week at the Capitol and has followed me around, sat through the sessions and I have asked her to relay her impression of what is occurring in the Senate chambers. I hope this gives you a new perspective.

AN ORDINARY DAY IN THE LIFE OF AN EXTRA-ORDINARY SENATOR
By Renee Lacey

After following my senator-husband Roy around the Idaho State Capitol Building for a week, I find that I've developed a whole new level of respect and admiration for our Idaho Lawmakers. Speaking from the perspective of an ordinary citizen, I wish to share some of my impressions of our 2013 Legislative Session:
    1. The days are excruciatingly long! In addition to morning and afternoon sessions on the "floor" debating numerous bills, our legislators' schedules are filled with committee meetings, work sessions, phone calls, reading e-mails, and addressing concerns of constituents, not to mention the various lunches and dinners throughout the week. My fitness-conscious husband also tries to squeeze in two trips to the gym every day. He drives home to Pocatello every Friday evening, and then returns to Boise on Sunday afternoons. (Now I finally "get it" when he sometimes falls asleep in Church!) His day begins with a 5 AM trip to the gym, 7 AM arrival at the Capitol Building, where he often doesn't leave until after 6:00 PM. A typical legislative session lasts anywhere from 12 to 14 weeks.
    2. The process of making new laws is very thorough. Each bill that finally makes the "cut" and goes to the "floor", must have three readings and must pass in both the House and the Senate before being signed into law by the governor. The meeting "rules of order" on the floor are strict and formal, allowing each bill to be discussed and vetted in a (mostly) civilized and fair manner. I really enjoyed sitting in on the sessions in the Senate. The testimonies on the different bills were generally sincere and well-presented.
    3. Our legislators, in spite of having to study and consider hundreds of bills during a typical session, display a remarkable clarity of mind in vetting each bill. I especially commend them for staying awake during the appropriations bills!
    4. The Capitol building is absolutely beautiful! What a great showcase for the state of Idaho! I continue to marvel at the elegant design and perfect architecture of every detail. Both the Senate and the House chambers have comfortable seats in the gallery above, where visitors can sit in on a session. (Roy tells me that the seats where the legislators sit are not quite as comfortable). Our Capitol building offers tours which provide a unique experience for a school field trip, an educational family outing or an out of state tourist.
    5. Testimonies in the Senate Chambers can be long. They can also be very passionate, especially when contentious issues are being debated. However, I noticed that most of the lawmakers get along with each other in other settings even though they may differ greatly in their opinions on the "floor".
    6. Every vote makes a difference! A disappointing example of this happened last Wednesday when the carefully crafted education budget appropriations bill was defeated in the Senate by one vote! Because it had already passed the House, the bill will need to be rewritten and go through the entire process again. As a result, our legislative session which should have ended March 29th will be prolonged for at least a week.
    7. Senator Roy feels like he has truly made a difference during this session. He tells me he has made friends on both sides of the "aisle", and has been quite successful at building a coalition of lawmakers who are willing to work together.
    8. This has been an overall positive experience for both Roy and me. I truly admire him for his efforts and sacrifice, and know that he always has the best interests of his constituents at heart. I have also benefited greatly as I have become better informed and more involved in the political process. One thing I have learned, however, that I now know for sure: I would never want to trade places with my husband! And --- I will be so happy to get him back home again!
Written by Representative Roy Lacey.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Week 11 at the Capitol

roylaceyBEING AN EFFECTIVE CITIZEN REQUIRES KNOWLEDGE

We can see the light at the end of the tunnel with the latest sine die estimate of March 29th, which is also Good Friday. I sincerely hope that these newsletters have enabled each of you to keep some sort of a sense of what is occurring at the Capitol by providing you "knowledge."

With sine die so close at hand, the business of the Senate has been brisk, with floor sessions in the morning and the afternoon (sometimes until after 7PM). Our days are long, but with a little sacrifice here, going home will seem even sweeter.

HEALTH CARE EXCHANGE

A new bill, HB248, was introduced this week and reached the Senate floor on Thursday. Thank goodness it was not quite the marathon we had on the last exchange vote, but still, we met for about 4 hours with very passionate debate, both for and against.  It is interesting to note that after hours of deliberation, the vote was identical to that given to SB1042, the original health care exchange proposal. This issue can now be put to rest as its last hurdle is the Governor's signature. He is in full support of this legislation.

PERSONAL PROPERTY TAX RELIEF

Since early last summer, business personal property tax repeal was often discussed, but we've seen a whirlwind of activity in these last two weeks.  First, the Idaho Association of Counties (IAC) brought a bill exempting the first $100,000 of property from taxation, and the Idaho Association of Commerce and Industry (IACI) also brought a competing bill asking for total repeal. Soon after, IACI pulled their bill for re-write – this is what you do when the votes are not there – and the IAC introduced HB315, which further expanded their proposed exemptions a bit. Rules were suspended and as a result HB315 flew through the House and was approved quickly by the Senate Local Government and Taxation Committee on Thursday. The bill will be heard next week by the Senate as a whole. There should be no trouble passing this legislation.

HOME ACT

This bill would provide tax credits and additional incentives for employers who hire veterans. The HOME Act is supported by the Governor, but will be held in the committee until personal property tax and other measures are voted on. Hopefully this bill will get out of committee this week and pushed to the top of the list for consideration on the Senate floor.

The above three bills are what I consider the "going home legislation" that we always hear about, however, there is a slew of other legislation to hear before the end of the session.  Here are a few of the topics we have left to consider:

  • Current requirements for initiatives and referendums
  • Concealed weapons and other gun legislation
  • Amended public school bills
  • The request for tax credits for private schools
  • Amended charter school bills
  • Budget appropriations (many of these)
  • Child protection
  • Emergency communications
  • And, many more…

MEDICAID EXPANSION

As part of the Affordable Care Act, states have the option to expand Medicaid. For Idaho, expansion was slow coming forward and will probably not progress further this year. It is my opinion that this legislation was waiting on the passage of the health insurance exchange. It is unfortunate that we will not address this critical decision, as it could mean as much as $365 million dollars to Idaho in the next 5 years. Couple this with the elimination of the CAT fund for indigent care, which would no longer be necessary, and you can add another $250 million or so. This money could be the impetus to lower local property taxes due to less pressure on counties, who currently struggle to pay for indigent medical care. In addition, the savings from the general fund could be used to assist our schools, both K-12, along with our colleges and universities. Maybe we can take this up again next year.

FEDERAL LANDS

A very controversial resolution to gain control of the federally managed public lands in Idaho is moving quickly through the House – greased on all sides. This legislation has passed the House just today, labeled as a sovereignty issue, and will now come to the Senate for consideration.  It might come through the Resource Committee, of which I am a member for review.

So, lots to be accomplished in a week, but with organization and skill, we can finish rather quickly with everyone wanting to end the session.

Thank each of you that have contacted me during the session to tell me your thoughts and ideas. And, thank you for allowing me to represent you in the Senate. Please contact me at: rlacey@senate.idaho.gov or 208-332-1406.

Written by Representative Roy Lacey.

Friday, March 15, 2013

2013 Legislative Forum

carolyn meline

elainesmith

roylacey

District No. 29 Legislators Elaine Smith, Roy Lacey, and Carolyn Meline in conjunction with the Bannock County Democrats will be hosting a Legislative Forum to give Bannock County residents an update on what is happening in the Idaho Legislature.

The public meeting will be held at Pocatello City Hall, located at 911 N. 7th Ave. on March 16th, at 10am.

They will discuss the ongoing 2013 Legislative Session and answer questions from the public. They look forward to meeting and talking with Bannock County residents.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

March 2013 Political Soup

steveherzogPocatello — On Wednesday, March 13th, the Bannock County Democrats will be holding a Political Soup luncheon. We'll be serving up some yummy soup and bread between 11:30 a.m. and 1:00 p.m.

This event will be held at our headquarters, located at 355 Yellowstone Ave., across the street from Mama Inez restaurant.

Our speaker will be Bannock County Prosecutor Steven Herzog. He will be speaking about the challenges he has faced since taking office. He will also give us an overview of his duties as a county prosecutor.

Political Soup is a great way to stay in touch with fellow Democrats in our area, as well as to pass around ideas and suggestions. Entrances are at the front and back of the building, with parking in back (please do not take parking spaces belonging to businesses along adjacent buildings). We look forward to seeing you there! For more information about this event, please contact our organization at chairman@bannockdemocrats.org or call (208) 234-8908.

Monday, March 11, 2013

March 2012 Political Soup

natemurphyOn Tuesday, March 13th, the Bannock County Democrats will be holding our March 2012 Political Soup lunch. We'll be serving up some yummy soup and bread between 11:30 am and 1:00 pm.

This event will be held at our headquarters, which are located at 355 Yellowstone Ave., across the street from Mama Inez restaurant.

Our speaker is Pocatello/Chubbuck School District No. 25 school board member and House candidate Nate Murphy. He will speak about the impact that Students Come First is having on the school district and other school board issues.

Political Soup is a great way to stay in touch with fellow Democrats in our area, as well as to pass around ideas and suggestions. Entrances are at the front and back of the building, with parking in back. We look forward to seeing you there! For more information about this event, please contact our organization at chairman@bannockdemocrats.org.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Bannock Democrats Welcome Dave Finkelnburg

daveDave Finkelnburg was picked Wednesday to be the new chairman of the Bannock County Democratic Party. He takes over the post from Catalina Steckbauer. She resigned because, she said, "I want to devote more time and energy to the Idaho Democratic Hispanic Caucus."

Louis Archuleta was also a candidate for the county party chair. Both candidates told the county Democratic Central Committee they would continue to support and work with the other regardless of which one was elected.

“I want to continue the great work Catalina Steckbauer has been doing to help the Bannock County Democratic Party realize its potential,” said Finkelnburg after being elected chairman. “There is a wonderful core group of party volunteers who helped me last year and continue to work hard for all of Bannock County. The Party chair is not a one-person job. I’ll be asking even more Democrats to pitch in, to help spread our message, turn out voters and win elections.”

Finkelnburg is a professional engineer who grew up in Pocatello and Chubbuck. He served on the Portneuf District Library and Portneuf Valley Farmers' Market boards of directors and also on the ISU Engineering Advisory Council. He is a past president of the Portneuf Valley Audubon Society. He is currently on the Idaho Museum of Natural Historey advisory board and is a member of the Pocatello Rotary club, where he is chairman of the "Rotary Helps" project to assist needy individuals in the area.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Week 8 at the Capitol

roylaceyMaybe this is a lucky No. 8 as it has been a good week. Last Friday my son, Eric, and his daughter Genevieve came to visit from Washington, D. C., my wife, Renee (in case you didn't know), drove up on Saturday in the snow storm and we had a wonderful weekend. They all left on Monday and this left quite a void here in Boise. However, a friend, Marc Nye, came in for a couple of days and sort of followed me around to get a feel of the legislature. Suzie Matsuura also stopped in last Friday for a nice chat. It is always so nice to have Pocatello folks come in a visit.

As we approach March and have some deadlines in getting legislation introduced, some of the committee work begins to become less hectic and every now and again we can come up for air. However, I believe this session will be going past the end of March as we look at some big issues that are on the horizon.

HEALTH CARE EXCHANGE

After a debate lasting over 6 hours, the Health Care Exchange Bill (SB 1042) passed quite handily and was transmitted to the House for their review and vote. Generally the legislation that passes the Senate is sent to the House and is viewed in the original form. However, in this instance, it is my understanding that a new bill is being written which incorporates the House Freshmen trailer bill. This will delay the passage up to a month as it now must pass through the House and come back to the Senate to start the process over.

JOINT FINANCE AND APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE

Even though this committee consumes more than half of my life, I have not written much about it. This is a very busy committee that meets every morning for about three hours – sometimes more. Right now we are starting at 7AM and will do so for about one more week. It is budget setting time and as we look at each agency request some very difficult decisions need to be made. The budget that is being allowed (3% increase) does not leave much room for any creativity. We are working very hard to finance our educational institutions – both K-12 and Higher Education. This week is the first time I have heard tempers flare but as we approve more budgets and the pot becomes smaller, I am sure we shall hear more. I do like my service on this committee as we, as members, do make a tremendous difference.

MARIJUANA BILLS

Every now and again – maybe more than that – legislation that makes no sense comes forward for us to consider. The recent "anti" marijuana bills were just that. A resolution or a memorial does not really become law, just makes a statement. One that was brought forward stated that marijuana would not be legal in Idaho – it is Federal Law that says marijuana is illegal, so all that was being said is that we would follow Federal Law. The other was more fun as it directed the Federal Government to enforce Federal Law in Washington and Colorado – this one failed which is fortunate as Idaho is also in violation of Federal Law in some instances. I titled this last one a "tat a tale" memorial. We need to be careful about what we ask.

EDUCATION

Not too much to say in this regard, except that these bills continue to be pulled from the vote for tweaking or changes. These bills were written in haste and with all the changes and adjustments cannot be good legislation. There is one bill that is moving and that provides for funding for charter school buildings. Unfortunately this comes in a tight budget time and the money would need to come out of the K-12 budget which is absolutely tight with no room to move. Those who run legislation sometimes don't think about where the money will be coming.

Written by Representative Roy Lacey.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

March 2013 Legislative Forum

carolyn meline

elainesmith

roylacey

District No. 29 Legislators Elaine Smith, Roy Lacey, and Carolyn Meline in conjunction with the Bannock County Democrats will be hosting a Legislative Forum to give Bannock County residents an update on what is happening in the Idaho Legislature.

The public meeting will be held at Pocatello City Hall, located at 911 N. 7th Ave. on March 2nd, at 10am.

They will discuss the ongoing 2013 Legislative Session and answer questions from the public. They look forward to meeting and talking with Bannock County residents.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Week 7 at the Legislature

elainesmithThis week is the start of the second half of the Legislative session because we have new pages in the House and the Senate. We started the week with the annual Memorial Service recognizing former legislators in the House of Representatives who have died this past year. Representative Carolyn Meline did an outstanding job presenting a tribute to Perry Swisher, who served in the 1950s and then again in the 1970s from Bannock County.

Below I have listed a few of the bills that have been debated or introduced in committees this week.

S1042—After 6 hours of debate, the Senate passed S1042 on a vote of 23-12, sending the bill that sets up a state run health care exchange over to the House. Multiple motions to send the bill back to committee or to the amending order failed and many had predicted it would last through the night. The bill faces a few more hurdles before it is debated on the floor and with twice as many members, debate may last a long time. It is expected to be sent to the House Health & Welfare Committee for a hearing. Also the trailer bill, HB 179, about a State Health Insurance Exchange on legislative oversight will be heard in this committee.

S1108—Democratic legislators held a press conference on Tuesday about S1108. This bill, brought by the Farm Bureau, would make it even harder to put an initiative or referendum on the ballot. The Idaho Democrat Legislators Caucus stands in opposition of this bill, especially after the resounding defeat of the “Luna Laws” in November. This awaits a hearing in the Senate State Affairs Committee.

S1089—This bill, introduced by the Idaho School Boards Association, would eliminate the early retirement incentive program for educators. The existing law was created as a way to save the state money by retiring more senior educators and replacing them with new educators. It also provides an alternative for female educators who take time away from their profession to raise families and then return to the classroom. It is on its third reading in the Senate.

H88—Known as the HOME Act, the bill passed the House on Monday with a vote of 62-7-1. This bill provides a tax credit to new businesses or businesses that have expanded for new employees, including veterans.

H159—The bill pertains to retail sale of liquor for a specialty non-transferable liquor license for the Nez Perce tribe convention center. It will be on the third reading this coming week when we vote on bills. The bill came from House State Affairs with a 9–7 vote, so it shall be interesting to listen to debate on that issue.

In House State Affairs at the beginning of next week, the committee will have 2 RS (pre-bills) presented for introduction and 2 bills about guns. House bill 192 is about a license to carry concealed weapons. It would require more training to obtain an enhanced concealed weapon permit which could be recognized by more states.

This week I met with five ISU social work students on their issues. Representative Meline and I met with 11 students from the Liberty Montessori High School from Rigby. I enjoyed visiting with them and hearing their comments, after they had spent three days at the Capitol. The Sho-Bans hosted a luncheon for legislators to better acquaint us with what is happening at Fort Hall. This coming week legislators will be meeting with Idaho PTA representatives and I know there will be PTA members from our area in attendance.

Please continue to contact me on issues of concern to you. The way to contact me is by e-mail at esmith@house.idaho.gov, toll free number is 1-800-626-0471, my office number is 208-332-1031 or my home number is 237-1462. Live streaming of meetings on the internet can be found at www.idahoptv.org/insession and current legislative information is located at www.legislature.idaho.gov. Thank you for the privilege of serving as your District 29 State Representative.

Written by Representative Elaine Smith.

February 2013 Central Committee Meeting

democrat-signOn Wednesday, February 27th, the Bannock County Democrats will be holding their scheduled monthly meeting of the Bannock County Democrats' Central Committee, beginning at 7:00 PM and ending shortly after 8:00 PM. Precinct Captains are reminded to attend, and all county Democrats are invited to attend and participate.

We will be electing a new chair at this meeting so please attend. We have two candidates for chair and their biographies can be found here. If you are unable to attend, please give your proxy vote to another Central Committee member. Proxy vote forms can be found here.

This event will be held at our headquarters, which are located at 355 Yellowstone Ave., across the street from Mama Inez restaurant. Entrances are at the front and back of the building, with parking in back.

Attend Central Committee to get updated with what is happening with the party and our plans for the future. We look forward to seeing you there! For more information about this event, please contact our organization via email at chairman@bannockdemocrats.org, find us on Facebook or call us at (208) 234-8908.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Week 7 at the Capitol

roylaceyIt seems like the weeks keep disappearing even though the days feel long. We have been in session for seven weeks, so hopefully we are on the downside which gets me closer to moving back to Pocatello.

This week the fun began with budget setting in JFAC. I mean this literally, as for the first six weeks we listened to presentations from many state agencies. They specified their wants and needs, along with answered questions on what they do and even sometimes why they exist. There were many in- depth questions asked, as these presentations and testimony many times influences budget decisions. Setting budget motions is an important exercise, and luckily the state has some wonderful analysts that know the history and provide great guidance. Three more weeks of budgets and then maybe things will start to slow down a bit.

As we review these budgets, some of which have very large amounts of money, it is disheartening to see that the Governor has zeroed most pay increases and with the only 3% increase in funding that we have to work with, it seems that the budgets will not have pay increases. However, we are exploring other avenues as our state employees are good people and unfortunately we have been losing some of the best to industry or other entities where the pay scales are better.

HEALTH CARE EXCHANGE

Thursday we endured a 6 ½ hour session – yes, 9:30am to 4:00pm, with the only bill discussed being the health care exchange. There was a lot of passion and the debate would have been very interesting if it had been a few hours shorter. The Pro-Tem was very patient in letting each of the senators speak their piece. I think 19 debated, even though much of the debate had very little to do with what the bill is about. The bill simply asks us to decide if we want a state-designed health insurance exchange (vote yes), or a federally controlled exchange (vote no). We heard testimony ranging from riding pigs with spurs, to kids in pools, to abortion. The Senate passed the bill with a 23-12 vote. This action was in line with my prediction after talking to fellow senators the last few weeks – so after 6 ½ hours of debate, no one really changed their mind. The exchange will benefit the poor and middle class most as it will help them navigate purchasing insurance.

PERSONAL PROPERTY TAX

This subject keeps raising its head on a weekly basis.  The Governor floated a draft this last week but has been getting a lot of push back by the cities, counties and others. His plan leaves some $50M for the local communities to add to their already high tax bills. Also, about $90M will be dedicated from the state general fund. This might work in good times, but when times get hard, like now, local community funding will be decreased, resulting in more money pushed back to the homeowner. I assume the sponsors of this idea will keep pushing until something gets introduced. This may be the session ending bill, which is scary as the legislators will be wanting to go home.

GIRL SCOUT COOKIES

While we are trying to give back $140M on the Personal Property Tax, the Girl Scouts have asked not to pay sales tax on their cookie sales – about $140,000.00 per year. This is on the back burner because "we can't afford it." Go figure!! By the way, the Girls Scouts did a good job lobbying here in the Capitol.

LISTENING SESSIONS

Two of our great House Democrats held a listening session for state employees this week. I was able to attend and was dismayed to hear the word "despair" so often as they talked about their job situation. Other words such as "lack of appreciation, tired, and looking for other work" were also heard often. We need to appreciate those who keep our state running, but as I mentioned earlier, our budgets do not include any incentive for pay – some even say with the wages being received that they are eligible for food stamps. This is sad.

Next Monday I understand that we may be hearing the anti-marijuana legislation, so I assume that we may have some more lively debate – but maybe not with the make-up of the Senate. I know that both measures will pass, even though one of them just tells the federal government to "do its job" in some other states. Neither has the force of law. It is interesting how sometimes the legislature rejects intrusion from the federal government and then in the next breath asks them to do something?????

With that, thank you for allowing me to be in Boise to represent you. Do not forget to SAVE THE DATE OF MARCH 2 AT 10AM AT CITY HALL FOR THE SECOND TOWN HALL MEETING OF THIS SESSION. COME TALK WITH US.

Written by Representative Roy Lacey.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

2013 Frank and Bethine Church Gala

Inaugural BallBoise, Idaho — The Frank and Bethine Church Gala on Saturday, February 23rd, honors the accomplishments of one of Idaho's greatest political families--the Family of U.S. Senator Frank Church. Matching the spirit of much of Church's political achievements, the Gala focuses on Idaho values of people, progress and prosperity.

The IDP is honored to welcome Denise Juneau, Montana’s Superintendent of Public Instruction, as the Keynote Speaker of the 2013 Frank & Bethine Church Gala!

The Social Hour and Silent Auction starts at 5:30 pm at the Boise Centre in Boise, Idaho, Dinner and formal program at 7:00 pm.

The District 29 legislators have reserved two tables (20 seats) for this event. The cost for a seat will be $65.00. To reserve a seat or for detailed information, please e-mail Elaine Smith at the following e-mail address: erbsmith@aol.com or call her at 251-4313.