District 25 Newsletter - February 12, 2016

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Idaho State Legislture

February 12, 2016

District 25 Newsletter


A foggy, yet beautiful morning at the Capitol this week. 


A note from Rep. Maxine Bell:

We are flying through another week of this session and getting closer to my main activity which is the setting of a budget for FY2017.  Along with the daily hearings presented in my committee, I am finding more bills that need to be studied for the proceedings on the floor activity.


I always hear from citizens with concerns about the issues that echo through our communities.  These concerns usually involve the need for more school funding or concern over the job situation.  However, this week will go down in my history. I have been buried with requests to vote for a car license plate with the word “maniac” emblazoned on it.  “Maniac” is the Orofino Idaho high school’s mascot.  This proposed specialized license plate is intended to raise money for educational needs in this community.  It is believed the term for the high school team was begun after a very tough basketball game when it was said they played like maniacs!! However, there is a great deal of opposition to this license plate because of concerns for negative aspersions it may cast on the mental health community in our state.  With our somewhat insufficient efforts at this point to address mental health, it is hard for me to understand the need for this bill, should it be put forth.


Today we completed the budget hearing for the Department of Correction. There was news of excellent results in the reorganization efforts made by Director Kemp.  We are fortunate to have a well-trained dedicated staff and emphasis on five research based programs to help those behind bars change the traits that put them there.  The state has 200 who have been successful in these efforts and are back out in our neighbors with supervision.  Our parole board meets two weeks each month to help assure those who are no longer a threat can return back to families.  One of the members of Mike Matthews from Sen. Rischs’ office. 

The Attorney General was also on the hearing schedule this past week.  As the attorney for the state, he has a wide range of areas of activity from suing the federal government for a very broad overreach when it comes to our water rights.  Imagine the United States having control over all of the water in Idaho including canals and small streams.  A sad note from General Wasden was their activity to control those who could commit crimes against our children.  They had 309 investigations with 18 arrests this past year.


Next week will finish my hearing schedule and the number crunching will begin as we prepare the new budgets for the state. 

Blocks for kids "Childhood Early Learning" at the Capitol:



Honoring President Abraham Lincoln:




Rep. Clark Kauffman narrating the Lincoln Day Celebration in the Idaho House of Representatives.


A note from Rep. Clark Kauffman:

Jr. College day.

Dr. Fox from CSI.




Randy L. Teton, Public Affairs manager of the Shoshone Bannock Tribe.  Randy was the model for the Sacajawea dollar coin.



WWAMI Medical Education 3rd year students.  We had a great visit.


At the end of last week I had a very informative conversation with Lynn Hudgens, CEO of Family Health Services, which serves the 8 County area of S. Central Idaho.  They have clinics in Buhl, Kimberly, Jerome, Twin Falls, Rupert, Burley and Fairfield serving many of the most vulnerable populations who may be isolated from traditional forms of healthcare.

I chaired the Lincoln Day Committee this year and had a great time putting the program together with a lot of help from my committee and others.

The House voted 55-15 in favor of HB 431, the bill to remove the indexing from the homeowner’s exemption from property taxes, instead just fixing the exemption at a maximum of $100,000. 


The homeowner’s exemption shields half of the value of an owner-occupied home and lot, up to a maximum cap, from property tax. It doesn’t change the total amount of taxes collected; if the homeowner’s exemption goes up, all other types of property taxpayers in the district pay a little more to make up the difference; if it goes down, they will pay a little less.


H425, the annual IRS conformity bill was the first bill signed into law in the 2016 legislative session. The Governor signed the bill Tuesday morning. This is an important bill for tax filers because it establishes the base for filing Idaho taxes.


The bills introduced by the House Revenue and Taxation Committee this week included:

H474 - which would require a notice and budget hearing for taxing districts electing to use their forgone balances,

H475 - which exempts from sales tax, road materials used to construct public roads, and

H449 – This provides a sales tax exemption for food products sold by Idaho Girl Scouts and Idaho Boy Scouts.


I visited with 3rd year medical students at the WWAMI reception.  Impressive Idaho students working to become doctors and many will stay and practice in Idaho rural areas.


Transportation Committee

HB 437     this proposed legislation is to shift the distribution of Off-highway vehicle (OHV)registration fees collected by the state to the counties instead of to Parks & Recreation.  There was considerable testimony at the hearing and all but one testifying against the bill.  It was held in committee, effectively killing the bill.


A note from Senator Jim Patrick:

I've had a busy week here at the Capitol.  Here are a few of the highlights:


In my Senate Education Committee we learned valuable information about the WWAMI. Here's a quick look at WWAMI:

WWAMI allows the medical students to train all four years in their home state, with their first two years on the Palouse and Clearwater Valley, increasing their familiarity with rural Idaho, as well as the health care needs of their region and state. This increases the likelihood that students will select further training or practice opportunities in Idaho once their training is complete.

After completing their second year of training at the medical school at the University of Idaho, the students have the opportunity to complete their clinical training requirements in Idaho. These clinical rotations are coordinated through the University of Washington School of Medicine WWAMI (Idaho) Office for clinical medical education in Boise. Following receipt of their medical degree, University of Washington School of Medicine graduates have the opportunity to apply to the three primary care residencies in Idaho. In addition to these formal training programs, Idaho physicians have opportunities for informal continuing medical education through seminars, programs, consultations or academic affiliations with the University of Washington School of Medicine through its Idaho WWAMI program.  

The Idaho Legislature currently reserves 35 seats in the University Of Washington School Of Medicine for its residents.


We had a presentation by the Idaho Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in my Commerce Committee.  I learned some very interesting facts.

FACT: There are 27 million small businesses in the U.S., which generate income for 70 million employees and family members

FACT: Small Businesses represent 99.7 percent of all employer firms in the U.S.

FACT: Members of the small business community represent one third of the American voting public

(Source: U.S. Department of Commerce/Small Business Administration)

FACT: Hispanics are key drivers in the growth of small business - the current Hispanic-owned business segment totals around 2.5 million plus and generates more than $388 billion annually (Source: U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, USHCC Annual Report 2008)

We had some important legislation move through the Education committee this week.  You can access these bills by clicking on the hot links below.  I hope you will provide feedback on these proposed laws.

S1232 Vocational rehab, federal acts

S1248 Public charter schools/written contracts

S1249 STEM action center board


Senator Jim Patrick

District 25


  • CHAIR – Commerce & Human Resources
  • Agricultural Affairs
  • Education


Rep. Maxine Bell

District 25 – House Seat A


  • CHAIR – Appropriations
  • Agricultural Affairs

Clark Kauffman

Rep. Clark Kauffman

District 25 - House Seat B


  • Business
  • Revenue & Taxation
  • Transportation & Defense

Office Address

State Capitol

P.O. Box 83720

Boise, Idaho 83720-0038

(208) 332-1000