Monday, November 17, 2014

Communications--Inside and Outside the Democratic Party

voting
Pocatello, ID - The Bannock County Democrats are having their monthly Political Soup luncheon on Wednesday, November 19th. We will be discussing "Communications--Inside and Outside the Democratic Party."

This event will be held at our headquarters, located at 355 Yellowstone Ave., across the street from Mama Inez restaurant. Yummy food will be served 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. Yummy food will be served between 11:30 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. Democrats had phenomenal candidates this election year across the board. The discussion will focus on communication about candidates and issues--reaching individuals about Idaho values and helping Idaho businesses and families succeed.

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.

November 2014 Central Committee Meeting

democrat-signOn Tuesday, November 18th, 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.

Monday, October 27, 2014

October 2014 Central Committee Meeting

democrat-signOn Tuesday, October 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.

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, October 14, 2014

It's A Bengal Tailgate Bash!

bengals

Pocatello, ID - Come out and join the Bannock County Dems at another tailgate party this Saturday October 18th in the Holt Arena parking lot (in spot #36 of the Bengal Boosters section--same spot we were in for homecoming) from 12 to 2pm.

Enjoy some good food and conversation with fellow Democrats, meet and talk with candidates, and support the ISU Bengals! The menu will be burgers, hot dogs, and chips.

Anyone interested in volunteering to help with the party, please contact our organization at bannockdemocrats@gmail.com or call (208) 234-8908. Volunteers should plan to get there by 11:30am.

Please stop by if you can and also spread the word to others! Help us show Pocatello that Democrats have lots of BENGAL pride!

Friday, October 10, 2014

We're Having a Tailgate Party!

bengals

Pocatello, ID - Come out and join the Bannock County Dems at another tailgate party this Saturday October 11th in the Holt Arena parking lot (in spot #36 of the Bengal Boosters section--same spot we were in for homecoming) from 12 to 2pm.

Enjoy some good food and conversation with fellow Democrats, meet and talk with candidates, and support the ISU Bengals! The menu will be burgers, brats, and chips.

Anyone interested in volunteering to help with the party, please contact Linda Leeuwrik at 226-6245 or lleeuwrik@cableone.net. Volunteers should plan to get there by 11:30am.

Please stop by if you can and also spread the word to others! Help us show Pocatello that Democrats have lots of BENGAL pride!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Día de los Muertos Chili Cook-Off


Pocatello, ID –The Bannock County Democratic Party is proud to present Día de los Muertos Chili Cook-Off on Thursday, October 23, 2014 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 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. Tickets can be purchased at the door, HERE 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 and a cash prize along with bragging rights for the year.

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

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Election Official to speak to the Dems

voting
Pocatello, ID - The Bannock County Democrats welcome Julie Hancock, the Bannock County Election Adminstrator, to speak to Bannock County residents about the upcoming November election at their monthly Political Soup luncheon on Wednesday, October 8th.

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

Democrats have phenomenal candidates, great energy this year and strong momentum. People in Bannock County have seen what 20 years of GOP control of Idaho has done to our families, our small businesses, and our cities. As a reminder, absentee voting has started in Bannock County so take the time to vote early. We encourage every Democrat to vote in November's election.

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.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

September 2014 Central Committee

democrat-signOn Tuesday, September 23rd, 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.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Chili Cook-Off Seeks Chefs


Pocatello, ID – The Bannock County Democratic Central Committee is on the hunt for those interested in participating in the Día de los Muertos Chili Cook-Off, to be held on Thursday, Oct. 23 beginning at 6 p.m. at the Pocatello Labor Temple.

We are encouraging all professional and amateur chefs to share their amazing culinary delights. Award winners have the chance to receive a traveling trophy and bragging rights with the top three finalists receiving a cash prize. The cost to enter the contest is $5, which does not include general admission.

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.

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

Friday, September 5, 2014

Kurtis Workman to Speak to the Dems

chef
Pocatello, ID - The Bannock County Democrats welcome Kurtis Workman, the Democratic Party's candidate for District No. 28 Representative, to speak to Bannock County residents about his campaign at their monthly Political Soup luncheon on Wednesday, September 10th.

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

Workman was born and raised in American Falls and is proud to call Southeast Idaho home. He has spent many years working in journalism and is currently a writer for the Power County Press in American Falls. He is also serves on the American Falls City Council. More information about the candidate can be found at kurtisworkman.com.

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.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

August 2014 Central Commitee

democrat-signOn Tuesday, August 26th, 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, August 12, 2014

Show Some Love with the Dems at Wednesday's BBQ

chef
Pocatello, ID - The Bannock County Democrats are having a BBQ at their monthly Political Soup luncheon on Wednesday, August 13th. We shall be receiving an update from the Central Labor Council about their efforts to increase voter turnout among union members and their families.

This event will be held at our headquarters, located at 355 Yellowstone Ave., across the street from Mama Inez restaurant. Yummy hamburgers will be served between 11:30 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. with BLET Local 228's very own Alan Humphries serving as grill master.

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.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Richard Stallings Banquet

David Niewert
neiwert
The Bannock County Democratic Party proudly presents the Richard Stallings Banquet, a fundraising event for the organization and its candidates. The banquet will take place on Thursday, August 7th at the Red Lion Hotel in Pocatello. Social hour will be from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m., with dinner and program beginning at 7:00 p.m. Tickets are $50 for individuals or $80 per couple.

Our special guest speaker will be David Neiwert, an investigative journalist based in Seattle and a contributing writer for the Southern Poverty Law Center. He is the author of And Hell Followed With Her: Crossing the Dark Side of the American Border, as well as The Eliminationists: How Hate Talk Radicalized the American Right; Strawberry Days: How Internment Destroyed a Japanese American Community, Death on the Fourth of July: The Story of a Killing, a Trial, and Hate Crime in America, and In God's Country: The Patriot Movement and the Pacific Northwest.

David's reportage for MSNBC.com on domestic terrorism won the National Press Club Award for Distinguished Online Journalism in 2000. A fourth-generation Idaho native, Neiwert graduated from Skyline High School in 1974 and from the University of Idaho in 1984, and was an editor and reporter at newspapers in Blackfoot, Twin Falls, Moscow, Sandpoint, and Lewiston.
stallingsposter
Former U.S. Representative Richard Stallings has devoted much of his career to public service and to improving the lives and prosperity of Idaho families. He served as United States Representative from Idaho for four consecutive terms. He was first elected to Congress in 1984 following a tight contest with Congressman George Hansen, a contest that he won by 170 votes. Prior to his time in congress, Stallings taught history at Ricks College from 1969 to 1984.

Following his tenure in office, Stallings was appointed U.S. Nuclear Waste Negotiator by President Clinton and served in that capacity from 1993 to 1995. He went on to serve as executive director of Pocatello Neighborhood Housing Services from 1995-2003 and was elected to the Pocatello City Council in 2001. He was reelected to the Council and elected chairman of the Idaho Democratic Party from 2005 until 2007. Stallings is a candidate for the 2014 Congressional Election.

For tickets contact the Bannock County Democrats at (208) 234-8908. For more information go to bannockdemocrats.blogspot.com, or facebook.com/stallingsbanquet.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

3rd Annual Summer BBQ & Picnic

 photo IDWCampBCDPicnic-PosterFlattened14_zpsf775efa6.jpg
The Idaho Democratic Women’s Caucus and the Bannock County Democrats invite you to attend our 3rd Annual Summer Barbeque & Picnic on Saturday, July 26, starting at 4:30 p.m. at Sister City Park on Pocatello Creek Road (at Satterfield Drive). Come for the good food, great company, and fun, with a no-host beer bar, a silent auction, and musical entertainment.

Tickets for this annual IDWC and BCD fundraiser--$20 for single adults, or $50 for a family of up to four--can be purchased in advance by calling us or at the event. The picnic is a great way to stay in touch with fellow Democrats, to share ideas, and to meet local, state, and congressional candidates. We look forward to seeing you there! For more information about this event, please contact us at bannockdemocrats@gmail.com, call (208) 234-8909, or visit www.facebook.com/bannockdemspicnic.

Monday, July 21, 2014

July 2014 Central Committee Meeting

democrat-signOn Tuesday, July 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.

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.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

VOTE POLEKI Campaign Kickoff Concert

 photo Vote-Poleki-Kickoff-final-704x1024_zpsb6840073.jpg

Campaign kickoff concert for Bannock County Clerk, Robert Poleki on July 18. Poleki will kick off that campaign in style, hosting a concert at The Bridge in Pocatello that will feature Emily B., former American Falls native and contestant on “The Voice.”

The concert will be hosted on July 18 in the parking lot at The Bridge, located at 815 S. First St., with seating for about 250 to 350 people, so tickets, which are $20 per person, are limited. Light refreshments are included in the purchase price. The doors will open at 6 p.m. with the concert slated to start at 7 p.m.

Tickets can be purchased at The Bridge, at Efresh, located at 302 E. Center St., or on Poleki’s campaign website,www.votepoleki.com.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

July 2014 Political Soup

tamaracode
The Bannock County Democrats are having their monthly Political Soup luncheon on Wednesday, July 9th. We shall be receiving an update from last month's party convention in Moscow.

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

Sunday, June 22, 2014

June 2014 Central Committee Meeting

democrat-signOn Tuesday, June 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.

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.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

June 2014 Political Soup

tamaracode
The Bannock County Democrats welcome Tamara Code, the Democratic Party's candidate for Bannock County Commissioner, to speak to Bannock County residents about her plans for Bannock County and how the commissioners can better serve the residents of our great area at their monthly Political Soup luncheon on Wednesday, June 11th.

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

Code is a graduate of Jerome High School and the University of Idaho. Tamara has lived in Pocatello for 28 years, raising her children in Bannock County while taking on a number of public service roles, including president of her children's elementary school PTA for five terms. She is currently serving as the Executive Director for the Portneuf Greenway Foundation.More information about the candidate can be found at codeforcommissioner.com.

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.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

May 2014 Central Committee Meeting

democrat-signOn Tuesday, May 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 March can be found here. The minutes from last month's meeting 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.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

May 2014 Political Soup

nelsmitchell
The Bannock County Democrats welcome Dr. Jana Jones, the Democratic Party's candidate for Idaho State Superintendent, to speak to Bannock County residents about her vision for education in the state of Idaho at their monthly Political Soup luncheon on Wednesday, May 14th.

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

Jones is a graduate of Skyline High School, and Idaho State University. Jana has spent her entire career in education and works as a consultant where she is involved in K-12 issues relating to school districts, charter schools and state education departments. Jana has the experience necessary to help make education in Idaho truly great. Jana currently resides in Idaho Falls with her husband. More information about the candidate can be found at janajonesforidaho.com.

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.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

April 2014 Central Committee Meeting

democrat-signOn Tuesday, April 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 March can be found here. The minutes from last month's meeting 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.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Time to Caucus

Bannock County Democrats to Hold Caucus Tuesday, April 8th

caucus
Dave Finkelnburg, chair of the Bannock County Democratic Party is pleased to invite the public to help select Bannock County delegates to the Idaho Democratic Party State Convention to be held in Moscow, Idaho June 20-22.

“This is a fantastic opportunity for Idaho Democrats to get involved with our Party and have a real say in selecting our party platform for the 2014 election cycle,” Finkelnburg said.

The caucus will be held on Tuesday, April 8th at the Bannock County Democrats headquarters, 355 Yellowstone AVenue in Pocatello. Caucus begins at 7:00 P.M.

Anyone who wants to participate as a Democrat and who will be a registered voter of the county on November 4, 2014, may participate in the caucus. The meeting is open to the public as well as the media.

To learn more about the Bannock County Democratic Caucus, contact Chair Dave Finkelnburg at (208) 234-8908 or by e-mail at chairman@bannockdemocrats.org. To learn more about the caucus process, contact the Idaho Democratic Party at (208) 336-1815. Or by e-mail at info@idahodems.org.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

April 2014 Political Soup

nelsmitchell
The Bannock County Democrats welcome Nels Mitchell, the Democratic Party's candidate for U.S. Senator, to speak to Bannock County residents about his vision for the state of Idaho at their monthly Political Soup luncheon on Wednesday, April 9th.

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

Mitchell is a graduate of Boise High School, Columbia University in New York and the University of Idaho Law School. Nels has been a practicing attorney for more than 30 years, in both the public and private sectors. Nels has hunted, fished, skied and hiked his whole life, and he and his wife, Mary Kimmel, share a deep love for Idaho’s great outdoors. More information about the candidate can be found at www.nelsmitchellforidaho.com/.

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.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

March 2014 Town Hall Meeting

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 28th, from 5pm to 7pm.

They will discuss the 2014 Legislative Session and answer questions from the public. Come learn first-hand about which bills passed, which didn't, and why. They look forward to meeting and talking with Bannock County residents. Light snacks will be served.

March 2014 Central Committee Meeting

democrat-signOn Tuesday, March 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.

This month's agenda is available online here. The treasurer report for the month of March 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.

Bannock County Democratic Candidates Event

elainesmith Congressional candidate Richard Stallings and Bannock County candidates to meet with the public this Saturday, March 22nd
Pocatello — Meet and hear from local Democrats running for county, state and national office this year, including Richard Stallings, 2014 candidate for Congress in the 2nd Congressional District.

Beginning at 10:30 a.m. this Saturday, March 22nd at the Pocatello Labor Temple located at 456 N. Arthur, local citizens will have the opportunity to speak with former Congressman Stallings, as well as legislative and county-office candidates from Pocatello and Bannock County, including:

• Mark Nye, Idaho House of Representatives candidate
• Lin Whitworth, Idaho Senate candidate
• Peggy Evans, Idaho House of Representatives candidate
• Tamara Code, candidate for Bannock County Commissioner
• Robert Poleki, Bannock County Clerk
• Radene Barker, Bannock County Treasurer
• Jared Paul Stein, candidate for Bannock County Assessor

In a legislative year where Idaho Republicans have once again failed to properly fund education, gambled away millions of taxpayer dollars, gave more tax breaks to the 1%, refused to protect those most vulnerable in our state and willingly threw away half a billion dollars over ten years in Medicaid funding, it's time to elect Idaho leaders who will bring sanity back to our state government. Please attend our event this Saturday and meet the candidates who will truly work for you and your family, and for the betterment of Idaho.

For more information about this event, please contact our organization at chairman@bannockdemocrats.org or call 234-8908.

Monday, March 10, 2014

March 2014 Political Soup

elainesmith The Bannock County Democrats welcome Representative Holli Woodings, the Democratic Party's candidate for Secretary of State, to speak to Bannock County residents via speakerphone about her campaign at their monthly Political Soup luncheon on Wednesday, March 12th.

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

Holli Woodings founded Woodings Group, which is an energy development consultancy and helped her husband’s company grow from a tiny startup to a thriving small business. She was elected to the State Legislature in 2012 and she was named an Idaho Business Review Woman of the Year in 2013. She has served on the Idaho Council on Industry and helped found the Idaho Clean Energy Association. More information about the candidate can be found at www.woodingsforidaho.com.

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 7, 2014

2014: Week 9 at the Capitol

roylacey
It is my usual practice at this time to write what I feel is important about the week’s Legislative functions.   However, today I am feeling full of emotion and seem to be of the opinion that when we all look at the scope of things we accomplish each day, much of what we do is insignificant.

In our Senate today we had the most moving memorial of Idaho’s fallen soldiers, those who lost their lives this last year. Their names are Thomas Paige Murach, Mitchell Daehling, Octavio Herrera and David Lyon.   These young men gave the ultimate sacrifice so we, as citizens of the United States and the State of Idaho, can carry on with our lives enjoying the freedom that we sometimes take for granted.

Please excuse me for not writing today, but my heart is full and maybe each of us can take a moment to thank these fine soldiers and the others that have defended our Country and our Freedom.

Senator Roy Lacey

2014: Legislative Week 9

elainesmith
Guns on Campus bill was passed in the House by a vote of 50 yes and 19 no with 1 absent.  The 19 no votes were from 13 Democrats and 6 Republicans.  My e-mail was overwhelmingly opposed to Senate Bill 1254 on firearms/concealed weapons on campus.  Nearly seven hours of  testimony occurred last week in House State Affairs.  I believe there were  7 in support of the bill and 41 opposed and 10 others signed to testify, but they left before their names were called.  The bill now goes to the Governor.     

House Bill 548 gives a $126 million income tax cut over six years, and I voted no on this bill.  I believe we need this $21 million annually to be used elsewhere in our state budgets.  I understand this tax cut bill which passed the House will not be heard because  the Senate Committee Chair  where it was assigned is not going to give it a hearing.   The education budget that is coming out of the JFAC Committee is a lot better than the past few years, but Idaho still has a long way to go to get our education funding back to previous years, so I believe no new tax cut is needed now.  

Idaho Democrats are supportive of hearing Add the Words legislation to end discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.  In fact all of us have signed on for the past eight years as co-sponsors.  I do understand the frustration of the people who have sent e-mails and are participating in protests.  However, I do not see any movement by the Majority Party to hold a hearing on a bill to add the words this session.  It will be crucial this fall when there are candidate debates that citizens ask the candidates their opinion on this issue.   

There is a bill back this year that was stopped last year.  House Bill 507 would give up to $10 million in tax credits for investing in scholarships for private schools.  I believe this violates our state constitution, but it also undermines public education.  This bill has passed the House Revenue and Taxation on a split vote and now goes to the entire House.  This bill encourages kids to switch from public to private schools.  There would be a tax credit for 50% of the donation for investing in scholarship and donors could deduct the full donation from their state income tax for a double benefit.  Contact your legislators with your opinion of this bill.

The House voted on House Bill 487 which pertains to Labor Negotiations.  The City of Pocatello, Firefighters Union, and the Police Union are opposed to this bill.  It passed the House on a vote of 44 yes and 24 no with 2 absent and it is now assigned to Senate State Affairs for a hearing.  This bill would not allow either side to discuss negotiations in executive session. 

Thank you for the opportunity to serve as your State Representative.  Please continue to contact me at esmith@house.idaho.gov or 208-332-1031 or 237-1462 on weekends. 

Elaine Smith
District 29

  



Friday, February 28, 2014

2014: Week 8 at the Capitol

roylacey
We just think things are moving fast and furious and then we get into a floor debate and progress comes to a mere crawl.   However, we do make progress every day and the budgeting process is right on schedule for a March 21 ending date for 2014.

Just yesterday we passed legislation designating March 4, (the date the Idaho Territory was established) as IDAHO DAY.    This day will be featured each year to remember our heritage as Idahoans and we do have quite an interesting history as was evidenced in the Senate floor discussion.

Through some extremely hard work by a young lady, Idaho now has a State amphibian which is the Idaho Giant Salamander.   The story behind this legislation is one of tenacity and passion.  As I did not know about this amphibian, I have included a picture so all can be as informed as me.
                                                               
STATE AMPHIBIAN


While I reported that the Governor had ordered an investigation into the private prison issue, we have since learned that (1) only one Idaho State Police investigator was assigned and (2) that the agreement for the $1 million settlement may have absolved CCA from all responsibility.  Two of our Democratic Representatives have requested that the FBI begin an investigation. I will give more information on this at another time.

Some other new reports on a” recycled” item: The courts have given Syringa Wireless permission to continue their lawsuit against the State regarding the improper awarding of the school WIFI contract. The Supreme Court has said, “All contracts made in violation of Idaho Code… are void, and any money advanced… must be repaid.” If monies must be repaid, the total bill for services could be in the $27 million range.

We have had a wide variety of demonstrations almost every day this week. There have been several LBGTQ events, a religious event, and a well-attended “no guns on campus” demonstration. Most of these have been peaceable and respectful.

The “guns on campus” legislation is being heard in the House today and kudos to the Chairman of the State Affairs Committee for allowing all testimony to be heard, (even taking a break for lunch and returning to hear from the last 19 people who had signed up to give testimony). While this measure passed the Senate quite easily, more information has come forward since then that will hopefully affect the outcome on the House side. So far the testimony has been overwhelmingly against this measure.

I will be ending on a sad note. I heard today that our friend Millie Flandro has passed after a very long illness. Also, it continues to break my heart to learn that our young people are being bullied into making some very devastating decisions resulting in the recent loss of two Pocatello teenagers. I was also greatly saddened to hear about the tragedy in the Parrish family. I wish to express my sincere condolences to these families.

As we still have 4 or 5 weeks left, please continue to contact me with any ideas, suggestions or comments – rlacey@senate.idaho.gov or 208 332 1406.

Senator Roy Lacey

Friday, February 21, 2014

2014: Week 7 at the Capitol

roylacey
Week seven at the Capitol has been one of long days as we work hard to finish the work by the target sine die which is March 21.   My unofficial guess is that we will be here until March 28.

The minimum wage bill that was introduced by Senator Michelle Stennett has not been given a committee date and a hearing probably won’t happen.   However, the news media in Idaho has heard about this legislation and it may be one of the most talked about bills of the year. While the raise to $9.75 by 2015 still is below the poverty level there is no traction in the Legislature.

Last week I wrote about the legislation to abolish the CAT fund and have the community health centers treat those without insurance.   This measure did not pass due to too few community health centers and no provisions made to pay hospitals if indigent people received services.   This week another CAT abolishment bill was presented that would take effect in two years to give the legislature that long to figure a method to pay for indigent care.  I am sure the sponsor of the bill would like to see the redesigned Medicaid take affect by then as that is the only reasonable method of handling these expenses.   This measure will be headed to the House for vote soon.

The famed “license to discriminate bills” (HP 426 and 427) have been pulled back into committee and will most probably still be on committee docket and not make it to the Senate before the end of session. 

Governor Otter has finally had enough pressure to change his mind and now is asking for a full investigation into the private prison.   While he said “no thanks” at the start, public perception and pressure has worked and the investigation can go forward.  The same should happen in our investment (State Treasurer) and contracts (Administration/Schools), but one step at a time.

The Justice Reinvestment legislation is finalized and should start moving through the process.   There have been some modification as others, namely the prosecutors, have collaborated to insure the legislation is accepted by all the players.  While the initial investment seems huge (about $33 million) the estimated savings over ten years ($255 million) makes this a great return on investment.

Legislation to fund the Agriculture Education Programs in the High Schools is moving quickly and should pass both the House and the Senate.   After many years of being the victim of reductions these courses have been struggling. One of the interesting outcomes of the Ag Education program is that 63% of the students taking these courses go on to post secondary schools.   Again, a good investment in our children.

Our Idaho Insurance Exchange is exceeding all estimates.   It was reported that 38,000 Idahoans now have insurance through this venue, with an additional 56,000 in the process of applying and securing insurance.  The original estimate was 42,000 in the first year.   Idahoans are able to get insurance at an affordable price.

We had the 5th annual “the government is going to take our guns” legislation (SB 1332).   This legislation passed the Senate unanimously.   How can this happen, you may ask?   After all the reworking of this bill, it has been rendered virtually harmless – this is legislation that has no teeth. 

The trucking industry is proposing that the tax on fuel be increased two cents per year for three years with the money to be used on our roads.   I don’t know how this will fare, but there are other road repair bills out there such as taking two cents of the sales tax (taking away from schools?) and another that would take any sales tax from any increase over a defined base to be used for road repair.  

On Wednesday we had Buy Idaho day and I saw several individuals from Pocatello.   It is so nice to see a familiar, friendly face.   Be sure to stop by if you ever come to Boise --- and don’t forget we will be having a Town Hall meeting in Pocatello at City Hall on Saturday, February 22 at 9:30AM. 

I remain humbled and at the same time proud of the trust that has been placed with me to represent Pocatello and I thank you for this.   Please continue the e-mails letting me know your positions so I can do my best to be a good Senator for Pocatello.   My contact information is rlacey@senate.idaho.gov or 208 332 1406.

Senator Roy Lacey

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

February 2014 Central Committee Meeting

democrat-sign
On Tuesday, February 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.

This month's agenda is available online here. The treasurer report for the month of February 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, February 17, 2014

February 2014 Town Hall Meeting

carolyn meline elainesmith roylacey District No. 29 Legislators Elaine Smith, Roy Lacey, and Carolyn Meline in conjunction with theBannock 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 February 22nd, at 9:30am.
They will discuss the ongoing 2014 Legislative Session and answer questions from the public. They look forward to meeting and talking with Bannock County residents.

Friday, February 14, 2014

2014: Week 6 at the Capitol

roylacey
We have reached Week 6 for 2014 and many are saying this is the half way point and the downhill run begins now. It seems like we have been on a run for 6 weeks already, but maybe things will start running faster now, if that is possible.

The great news is that we are beginning to set budgets next Monday and in past years it is the budgeting process that delays the sine die. Last year, the education budget held us here an additional week for a small technicality which we are being very careful not to repeat. I was a bit ambitious this year and am working on about 25 budgets, all of which will affect our district. I have met with the analysts and have started on about 10 of them already and have 8 motions ready to go. All I can say is --- so much money but also so many places to go. The budget this year is $2.9 billion and may end up a little more than that.

Medicaid adult dental health is on the fast track. Back in 2010 when it was discontinued the argument was that without maintenance, the cost for emergencies would skyrocket. This was the case and the approval of emergency costs only have exceeded the savings that some anticipated by removing this service from Medicaid. The old adage that if you care for something it will cost less in the long run is true.

While the increase in minimum wage bill was sent to print, it seems stuck in committee and may never be given a hearing. Meantime, Idaho remains at the bottom of the heap for average wage with most people working and trying to make ends meet for $7.25 an hour.

I have found it very interesting that the Idaho Transportation Department has been winning awards for efficiency and innovation – all well deserved – yet we have been underfunding them for years. Congratulations to the Director for making things work, but Idaho needs $262 million a year if our road systems are not to deteriorate beyond reasonable repair. Yet we continue to only spend Federal dollars on our roads which are inadequate for the long term. Money spent right now would be much less than in the future at a rate of $1 not spent now will cost an estimated $14 in the future.

Election year legislation becomes very political. There is a measure that would allow the legislature to hire its own attorney if the Attorney General doesn’t agree with the legislature. Last election year, the majority party set aside $200,000 to hire outside counsel if they disagreed with the Attorney General. The only real problem with these bills is that the Attorney General and staff continue to give wise counsel and have a great track record of being correct.

“Guns on campus”, another election year ploy, is moving through the Senate. The committee chair is also the sponsor of the legislation and as we know well, committee chairs seem to be all powerful. The NRA presented the bill and was allowed 40 minutes to testify with only a few minutes given to each of the long list of people waiting to speak in opposition. Many who wanted to testify were denied the opportunity and the vote was pushed forward even though a bi-partisan group asked for more testimony and a delay. Some of the testifiers had come great distances and those not allowed were the police, universities, colleges and others who would be greatly affected. With this legislation an intended or not intended consequence may be that there would be no jurisdiction of open carry, so those with no training would be allowed to carry guns on campus as long as the guns are not concealed.

There is legislation being proposed to eliminate the CAT fund and provide the services through community health care facilities. We may find some funding problems as the community health care facilities are required to provide services to a percentage of uninsured. If Idaho pays, will this continue to be classified as uninsured? This may result in lost Federal Funding.

Our Attorney General has proposed that investigation be continued into the private prison understaffing, however, the Governor has said “no thanks”. We need to hold CCA accountable and the $1 million received as settlement from CCA may not be adequate for services that were withheld and paid for by Idaho.

The recommendations for State employee compensation increases seem to be accepted by most and we recently had presentations regarding doing the same for our teachers. We have underfunded our schools and teachers for so long, it is now time to step up to the plate and help them with some increases which will hopefully slow down the exodus of good teachers from our State.

I appreciate all the contacts that I have had this week with constituents in Pocatello and ask that you continue to contact me regarding your concerns – sometimes I even have the right answer! My contact information is rlacey@senate.idaho.gov.  Thank you for your trust in allowing me to be your representative in the Senate, I am truly humbled by this responsibility.

Senator Roy Lacey

2014: Legislative Week 6

elainesmith
House bill 396 was brought forth by the Prescription Drug Abuse Workgroup  to state prescribers shall register for online access to the Controlled Substances Prescriptions Database.  Only 32% of Idaho prescribers are registered, so this bill will improve that statistic.  The bill passed in the house with 64 yes and 6 no.  Currently Idaho is fourth in the nation for having the most prescription drug abuses.  There are more deaths by prescription drug abuse than there are deaths in car accidents. 

House Joint Resolution 2 passed the house on a vote of 67 yes with 3 absent.  This resolution proposes an amendment to Article III of the Constitution of the State of Idaho.  If passed by the voters in November 2014, legislative delegation of rulemaking authority over state agencies would be placed in the Constitution.  Idaho is the only state in the nation to oversee state agency rules.

Guns on Campus bill (Senate 1254) passed with a committee vote of 7 yes to 2 no to the full Senate for a vote.  It is really too bad that testimony was cut off, so many individuals who came from big distances in Idaho did not get a chance to give their opinion.  The bill should have been held over for one day to allow more testimony the next day.  Several of the universities and law enforcement were present, but were not allowed to testify.  I expect the bill will pass on the Senate floor.

The Idaho Soil and Water Conservation Districts did a presentation to the House Environment, Energy & Technology Committee about the Pebble Creek Project in Southeast Idaho.  This project was brought forth by the landowners with several different agencies participating to reconstruct two channels, which had been straightened in the 1940s for irrigation purposes, to their original meandering pattern.  This project promotes  a healthy stream, reduce livestock impacts, and creates a healthy fish habitat.  This project preserves natural resources with a larger impact on conservation due to many partners.  Way to go Southeast Idaho!     

The bill to provide necessary support for the implementation of a new technology system for the Idaho Courts was introduced in House State Affairs, but will have a full hearing by the House Judiciary and Rules Committee.  This bill will improve access to the courts and court records,  will  use electronic filing for efficiency, will have electronic storage of records, and will use video conferencing.  This will greatly enhance the court system into the modern age of information and communication.   

On Thursday The Office of Performance Evaluations presented to JLOC (Joint Legislative Oversight Committee) the report on Confinement of Juvenile Offenders.  The office reported that the average daily custody of confined juvenile offenders has decreased with most juvenile offenders remaining in the community and are not confined.  It was found that more than 31% of the department’s appropriation goes to the counties.  I do have a list of all the programs in every county.  There were suggestions give for follow up by the department.  One was to direct state efforts toward prevention and early intervention for at-risk-children and their families.  I agree the state needs to reinvest in prevention and early intervention efforts within Idaho’s schools.  Some ways for these efforts to be achieved would be to reinstate community resource workers, social workers and other support staff to work with at risk children.  Dedicated Safe and Drug Free School dollars and early childhood education could also assist with early intervention.  Head Start in Pocatello always has a waiting list, so it would help to have their federal grant expanded.

Thank you for the opportunity to be District 29 State Representative.  Keep communicating and hope to see you at the next District 29 Town Hall meeting on February 22nd.

Elaine Smith
      

Friday, February 7, 2014

2014: Week Five at the Capitol

roylacey This has been a week of revelations which cause great concern.  Transparency is important; it is my policy to be transparent as the citizens of Idaho need to know what is going on in the “peoples” house.

The concerns began last Friday afternoon in meetings with Department of Administration and Department of Financial Management as they explained the need for a $14.5 million (yes million) bailout needed for the Idaho Education Network.  It appears that a court decision regarding the possible inappropriate awarding of a contract may stop funds from the FCC to the schools for WIFI coverage.   In fact, funding was suspended in March 2013 and nothing was made public until just last week.  We found that payments are made directly to the vendor; the Department of Administration did not maintain records on the payments even though a portion of the funding was being paid by the State.  A more complete description of what is occurring can be found on Senator Dan Schmidt’s blog.  Senator Dan Schmidt from Moscow has researched this subject and the blog has some great information. My question is about accountability and who is responsible.   It appears that no one is accepting responsibility – just asking for $14.5 million to bail out Idaho Education Network (IEN) for the short term and maybe more money will be needed long term. If the contracts were indeed not awarded correctly, the State may be required to pay back all money received.

Next, we see the news that our State Treasurer exceeded his authority and may have cost the State $10.7 million dollars in improper investments and the number could rise to more than double this amount.   All this was covered up by the (inappropriate) transfer to another group of accounts so the (inappropriate) investment wasn’t readily evident.   This information was brought out by an audit by Legislative Services.   At the JFAC presentation, the State Treasurer would not directly answer the questions, saying that hindsight was 20-20, but was not accepting responsibility.   Again, where is the accountability?   Apparently, there is none and there are no consequences as evidenced by his announcement that he will seek a fifth term in office.

Additionally, we have found out that the Commission for Pardons and Parole is almost five years behind in publishing minutes of parole hearings which are public records.   The excuse given was that the minutes must be verbatim and there was no time to review them – after five years, who would even know if they are verbatim?   Once again, accountability.   Last year the report was nearly the same and suggestions were made to fix this problem to no avail.   These positions are appointed by the Governor, so apparently there is no need for accountability.

Please do not think that all State Government agencies lack accountability.  Most are good stewards of the State’s money and resources, but this week we have been faced with reports of failures all at once and, quite frankly, it seems formidable.

In my last newsletter I indicated that the House Health and Welfare Committee had agreed to allow Minority Leader John Rusche to present legislation for the redesign of Medicaid.  The GOP committee members of the House Health and Welfare Committee voted to block consideration of the bill.  Take note, this is the month before the deadline to announce who will be running in the Republican primaries for 2014.  Is this a ploy to get extra votes?

We will have a minimum wage increase bill presented to Senate State Affairs on Monday, February 10.   This legislation is being carried by Senator Michelle Stennett. The GOP has also guaranteed to not print this bill as well. 

The “guns on campus” legislation continues to come up during election year sessions.   It is again being introduced this year (probably as a way for some to get extra votes in election season) despite all eight University and College Presidents having declared that they do not want guns on their campus. 

This week a group of our citizens staged a demonstration to bring attention to “Add the Words”.  It was a peaceful and quiet demonstration for most of the morning.  The demonstrators were, however, blocking the entrances to the Senate chambers.   Prior to the time the session was to begin, several options were offered to the demonstrators, including moving to the gallery to observe the session, which, by the way, would have been a powerful and moving solution.   Instead, the demonstrators, at the encouragement of their leader, chose to be arrested and were moved to another part of the Capitol building.   Then the leader, who is a former Senator, chose to stay on the floor of the Senate, holding the door open.  Idaho Senate rules of decorum allow former Senators to be on the floor. However, lobbying is not allowed on the floor of the Senate and it was voted that she be removed. All news accounts were about the leader – not about the movement and I feel very few hearts were softened with the staging and end results of this demonstration.

There were two pieces of legislation introduced on the House side of the Rotunda which allow discrimination if you have “sincere” religious objections.  Both have been deemed as flawed and possibly unconstitutional by the Attorney General.  Why would some legislators even consider the consequences of unconstitutional laws?   One has been held in committee and the other has been passed to the House of Representatives floor on the amending order.   Maybe both will just be held until the end of the session.   Idaho is already considered the most discriminating State.

So sorry about all the bad news this week, but it has been a tough one – please continue contacting me, stop in to say hi (we had the County officials this week).   Best to everyone this week.

Senator Roy Lacey

Monday, February 3, 2014

Bannock Democrats Welcome A.J. Balukoff

elainesmith
The Bannock County Democrats welcome A.J. Balukoff, the Democratic Party's candidate for Governor of Idaho, to speak to Bannock County residents about his vision for the state of Idaho at their monthly Political Soup luncheon on Wednesday, February 12th.

This event will be held at the Pocatello Labor Temple, which is located at 456 N. Arthur Ave. in Pocatello. Yummy food will be served between 11:30 a.m. and 1:00 p.m.

A.J. Balukoff holds an accounting degree from Brigham Young University, founded a major accounting firm and a chain of health clubs, and co-owns the Grove Hotel, the Idaho Steelheads hockey team, CenturyLink Arena and downtown Boise office buildings. He also serves on the boards of the Boise Public Library, St. Luke’s Regional Medical Center, the Esther Simplot Performing Arts Academy and Ballet Idaho. More information about the candidate can be found at www.ajforidaho.com.

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, January 31, 2014

2014: Week 4 at the Capitol

roylacey
We are already four weeks into the session which means we may only have 12-14 weeks left and the Capitol has started to hum as legislation, appropriations and supplements are moving through committees at a record speed.

This was a special week as several people from Pocatello came to Boise. I had visits from a few members of the Pocatello-Chubbuck Chamber of Commerce, City of Pocatello and City of Chubbuck.   What made the week the most special was a visit from Shiloh Blackburn from Pocatello who shared her thoughts on help for those with Developmental Disabilities.   She is confined to a wheel chair.  Her comments and requests were from the heart.

A spectacular announcement that affects most of Idaho came from the Superintendent of Education’s announcement that he would not be running for a third term.   While this was not totally unexpected, the timing was such that it caught many by surprise.   When you couple this with the resignation of the Deputy Director of Education (who was brought in to fix Schoolnet), the exodus seems to be deep and severe.  Due to these departures in leadership, several people have announced that they wish to run for these offices and others on the sidelines are giving the impression that they will jump into the race.

Some good news I read this week is that Democrat House Minority Leader John Rusche has a commitment from the Chairman of the Health and Welfare Committee that he will have a hearing on the redesign of Medicaid in Idaho.   This legislation would cover those caught in the gap between the Insurance Exchange and Medicaid coverage.   Due to opposition, however, this legislation may not make it out of committee, but it is exciting to even think about the possibility of helping so many Idahoans.

The proposal to do a tax shift of $80 million by adjusting the Grocery Tax Credit has been put aside after the ramifications of an increased tax on middle income people was considered.   We can give much of the credit to Mike Ferguson, a former economist to several governors who did an analysis of this proposal. 
The “guns on campus” issue is again rearing its head with a piece of legislation on the Senate side.   I have a copy of the draft legislation and it has several inconsistencies; furthermore our State College and University Presidents are not in favor of this measure.  

There is legislation floating around regarding a State Legislator concurrently holding another elected position such as a City Councilman or a Commissioner.   Right now there is no law prohibiting this, although holding two positions at the same time may result in a conflict of interest.   Let me know your thoughts.

The funds to prepare for the takeover of the private prison in Boise have been approved on the Senate side and the decision now moves to the House for consideration.   This is a great deal of money, but the time is short and the Department of Corrections must be ready to assume duties on July 1st.

Our friend and Pocatello resident, Stephen Weeg, was confirmed in the Senate as a member of the Insurance Exchange Commission.   Stephen has been working this position as Chairman of the Commission since last spring and has done a wonderful job navigating through the process in a short period of time.   He is a shining star from our hometown and we can be proud of him and the work he does.
                                                                                                                                                                                                
It is expected to be a dry year and accordingly we are hearing about water issues on a daily basis.   There have already been some proposed shut downs of water in the Magic Valley which will affect the crop production in that area.    There has been a request to advance the studies of increased water storage to purchasing of water rights using monies from the 2014 budget rather than the 2015 appropriations.     

I will end with a quote from Aesop --- “No act of kindness no matter how small is ever wasted.”

With that, thank you for your support and trust.   Contact me at rlacey@senate.idaho.gov or 208.332.1406 with any questions, suggestions or thoughts.


     



2014: Legislative Week 4

elainesmith
Today I want to share information on some bills currently in the Legislature.  Guns on Campus bill has been printed and referred to the Senate State Affairs for a hearing.   I would appreciate hearing from Bannock County  citizens their opinion on Senate bill 1254.  This bill would allow people over the age of 21 who have an enhanced concealed weapon permit to carry a gun on any Idaho university or college campus.  Currently Idaho does not allow weapons on any campus. 

House bill 368 was passed in House State Affairs with a very close vote.  This bans legislators from holding a local elected position in the city, county, district or commissions that has taxing or public spending authority.  The bill went to the floor of the House of Representatives for a vote, but with no objections the House State Affairs Committee Chairman sent the bill to General Orders.  Now any legislator has the opportunity to amend the bill.  I believe the bill is too restrictive and takes away voter rights.  If a local community wants to elect a person to a commission, city council, school board, etc. and to the state legislature, it should be their right.    

Also in House State Affairs a bill was send to print which would shield licensed professionals with sincerely held religious beliefs from having their license revoked.  Everyone, including the House Bill 426 sponsor, has stated there is no example in Idaho of an actual challenge to a licensed professional on these grounds.  I also question if this isn’t against the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964.  The citizens who want “Add the Words”  legislation are looking at testifying against this bill because it does the opposite of their viewpoint. 

Last week I shared information about the bill which would start the seven year process for Idaho DEQ to have primacy over wastewater permits instead of the Environmental Protection Agency Regional office based in Seattle.  House bill 406 passed the House with a 62 yes votes, 0 no votes and 8 absent.  The bill will now go to a Senate Committee for a hearing.  The first year of the process it is estimated to cost $300,000 with 3 FTEs and the last year there would be 25 employees at a cost of $2.5 to $4 million a year.  The four states without this type of primacy are Idaho, New Mexico, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts.      

For your information, House Minority Leader John Rusche will be introducing a bill on expanding Medicaid eligibility in Idaho in the House Health and Welfare Committee.  Expanding Medicaid in Idaho could be a way for Idaho to eliminate the expensive state and county funded indigent health care system.  I am not optimistic about the bill being passed, but it is good to have a hearing on this important topic.  Please contact House Health & Welfare Committee members to give your opinion.  I did have a member of the Council on Developmental Disability, who is from Pocatello and has cerebral palsy, visit with me on the need of Medicaid expansion and other issues.   

The week brought many people from Pocatello such as  the Community Bankers, 27 Pocatello-Chubbuck Chamber of Commerce representatives with 11 being part of Leadership Pocatello, the Idaho Health Care Association, which included Pocatello people from Developmental Options, the Pocatello Veterans Home, and Quinn Meadows, Mayor Blad, Mayor England and several other representatives from the City of Pocatello and the City of Chubbuck.  Thank you to all the Bannock County citizens who take time to drive to Boise to share their viewpoints on issues.

Please keep communicating with me about legislative issues.  I appreciate hearing from you.
Elaine Smith – State Representative District 29
208/332-1031 or esmith@house.idaho.gov

  





Monday, January 27, 2014

January 2014 Central Committee Meeting

democrat-signOn Tuesday, January 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.

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 January 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, January 24, 2014

2014: Week 3 at the Capitol

roylacey
This was Education Week at the Capitol and it has been interesting and informative to walk through the various displays placed in the Rotunda and visit with the excited students who are responsible for the site.   The Capitol is never as noisy as it is during Education Week.

ISU President Art Vailas gave an outstanding presentation to the JFAC committee on Wednesday.  It was a pleasure to have such a well prepared and informative presentation, because not all are well done.   ISU also hosted a reception (meet and greet) on Thursday night for all the legislators and alumni which was well attended.  The reception generated a lot of good will.  One of the ISU troop made an outstanding comment with regard to athletics:   ISU where the men are men and the women are CHAMPIONS.   Congratulations to the Lady Bengals.

It is always interesting about what figures can tell you.   We all hear (and hear often) the statistic that one in four go on to college or university.   These figures are used by the State Board of Education and many of the Universities.   One of the figures being tossed about liberally is that only 35% of those 25-34 living in Idaho have a degree or certificate (emphasis on living).   The target is 60% by 2020.   How can this be?   Well, living in Idaho is the key.   Most of Idaho's best and most educated are leaving the State to find a job with a living wage (brain drain), so this figure means very little, except to show that Idaho has low non-competitive wages.   The other figures include number (or percentage) of students moving on to a College or University, but those who leave the State for education are not counted, those going on missions or taking a year off  and there are no records of those that come back to school after a few years in the workforce.  The conclusion is that more of our good high school graduates are going on to further their education and we may be nearing the 45-50% (my guess).

The budget for the schools and the State are the hot topic.   A former economist for the State of Idaho has an alternate plan from Idaho Center for Fiscal Policy which looks very good and sure makes a difference.   It varies quite a bit from the Governor's budget, but it has gained some interest and certain aspects are being examined very closely.  While we need to be thinking what is good for the State, it would be a rare occurrence that the final budget will vary too much from the Governor's recommendation.

A few other things rummaging about are:

Department of Administration was attempting to keep the rules regarding rallies even though the rules had been ruled as unconstitutional.  This was rejected by a Senate Committee.

Floating around somewhere is a provision to allow 10 year olds to hunt big game.   This is an attempt to bet the youth interested in hunting while we still have their attention.   I think most 10 year olds would have difficulty holding the rifle.

Idaho ranks 49th in the United States regarding number of doctors per capita of population.

The Legislature okayed $1.9 million for the start up costs for taking over the private prison.   As the date of takeover is July 1st, the Department of Corrections must move quickly to make this happen.   We will have a better system when the transfer is complete.

The Martin Luther King celebration on the Capitol steps had several hundred attendees and went smoothly even with the unusual cold weather we have been experiencing in Boise.

Hearings were held regarding Common Core in the Capital this week.  Next Monday there will be hearings regarding the Education Task Force's recommendations.

A special press conference was held on Friday regarding the "Add the Words" legislation that was to be presented in this session.  The Committee Chairmen in both the House and the Senate have refused to allow the measure to be heard, even after the Speaker of the House suggested that the Legislature is an "arena of ideas" and indicated all deserve a hearing.   All I can say is, it must be an election year!

I will end with a brief report of the testimony from the Superintendent of Schools who presented to the  JFAC committee on Thursday.   His presentation was polished and rapid but really didn't provide the minute details of the budget.  He was before the committee for more than three hours answering questions regarding budget items, the School Net program which seems to be not working and other various inquiries about Reading and Math Initiatives, etc.   There is more interest in this budget than any other at this time and our last work group had most of the 20 JFAC members present.   We will remember that we are watching out for the students as we drill through the details of what this budget will be in the end.

Thank you for allowing me to represent you in Boise.   I do my best for the citizens of Pocatello, Bannock County and Idaho.  If you are in Boise, please stop by to say hello and you can always contact me at rlacey@senate.idaho.gov .   See all of you in Pocatello this Saturday at 9:30AM in City Hall for an update on Boise.