Senator Jim Patrick - District 25 Newsletter

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Idaho State Legislture

February 22, 2019

Senator Jim Patrick - District 25 Newsletter

Dear Friends,


This week gave me plenty of opportunities to connect with the people of Idaho, particularly on agriculture. I started with the Larry Branen Idaho Agricultural Summit dinner, where I discussed Idaho’s agriculture and needs with fellow farmers. I also attended a reception by the Amalgamated Sugar Company, of which I am a member. As the second-largest sugar beet processor in the nation, I am proud to say that it is farmer-owned and operated. As a grower myself, this event provided plenty of good insight and conversations. In addition, I attended the Idaho Beer and Wine Distributors reception. We covered the groundwork for future cooperation and discussed important issues in the industry.



Education was also at the forefront of my mind and schedule this week. I had the pleasure of taking part in the “Know Your Government” conference held by the University of Idaho’s 4-H Youth Development Program. Students learned about the state judicial system, legislative process, and more. It was an honor to get to know this future generation of community-minded people!


In the Agriculture Committee, the National FFA students gave me another chance to talk with today’s youth and discuss their future. I’m happy to report that every young man and woman at the table where I sat plans to attend college. Finally, I was honored this week to appoint Ford Elsaesser to the Lake Pend Oreille Basin Commission. I’m sure he’ll do great work.



Jim Patrick

Jim Patrick

Jim  L. Patrick
Statehouse (208) 332-1318 (Session Only)

Commerce & Human Resources – Chair
Agricultural Affairs
Resources & Environment

JFAC supports education budgets


After weeks of hearing budget requests from state agencies and the Governor’s recommendations on school budgets, the Joint Finance and Appropriations Committee (JFAC) is moving forward in support of Governor Little’s recommendations. The Governor’s top priorities include increasing starting teacher pay and his early literacy initiative for students in kindergarten through the 3rd grade. 


A school budget increase of 6.1 percent received unanimous support from the Joint Finance and Appropriations Committee. The public school budget for 2020 is $1.9 billion and JFAC was able to include funding for key policy items requested including funding early literacy by $13.2 million. Discretionary funding was increased for school districts to cover health insurance costs and general inflation in the amount of $14.6 million.


The Governor has introduced legislation to spread an increase in starting teacher salaries over a two-year period, which would raise minimum teacher salaries to $38,500 in 2020 and then to $40,000 in 2021. The current minimum for starting teacher salaries is $37,000. Other budget increases included a $7 million increase for the Opportunity Scholarship Fund, master teacher premiums to provide up to $4,000 a year for high-performing teachers, and a $3 million increase for the Advanced Opportunities program. The school budgets still need passage by both the House and Senate as well as the Governor’s signature before they become law. Click here for more details on school budget increases.


In addition, JFAC passed unanimously the revisions of several smaller education budget proposals, including the Career-technical education, State Board of Education, and STEM Action Center budgets. Click here for more information from Idaho Education News.


Background:  The Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee (JFAC) was created in 1967 when the Idaho Legislature merged the House Appropriations and Senate Finance Committees for budget setting purposes. Each committee consists of nine members and one chairman. The Idaho Constitution requires a balanced budget, and, therefore, the sum of all the appropriation bills must not exceed the revenue estimate.

Senate Joint Memorial 102 Regulation Freedom Amendment


U.S. Senators Mike Crapo and Jim Risch have often said Washington D.C. would be better off if it operated more like Idaho. The Regulation Freedom Amendment is one way to help them get there.  


Tuesday’s passage of the Regulation Freedom Amendment, Senate Joint Memorial 102 (SMJ 102), by the Senate was an important step forward in providing the U.S. Congress with the authority to review regulations that may overreach or misinterpret the law’s legislative intent. SJM 102 will now move to the House for consideration.

The Regulation Freedom Amendment urges Congress to propose a constitutional amendment to allow for congressional review of proposed regulations for which there is a written objection made by at least a quarter of either the U.S. Senators or House Members. Under this amendment, the proposed regulation would then need majority approval by both the House and Senate to be enacted.


Idaho’s legislature is constitutionally bound to review new regulations and has the power to review and repeal old regulations. The addition of a comparable amendment to the U.S. Constitution aligns with Idaho’s belief in the importance of having clear and defined separations of power between the three branches of government. Twenty-eight other state legislatures have likewise urged Congress to propose the Regulation Freedom Amendment. Seven current and former Governors, including Vice President Mike Pence, have made the same request. The power of states to influence Congress in the proposal of amendments is not unprecedented; twelve of the twenty-seven amendments to the U.S. Constitution were made at the request of States.


The Regulation Freedom Amendment is not a partisan issue. Two-thirds of the States must ratify the Congressional proposal before it is certified as part of the U.S. Constitution. The amendment would still only need a quarter of either chamber to request a regulatory review. Additionally, constitutional amendments are difficult to change. It is effective assurance that government agencies adhere to the intent of the U.S. legislative branch. Click here to review SJM 201.

4-H Students meet Legislators at the Know Your Government Conference


4-H students from across the state came together in Boise this week to see Idaho’s government in action. The Know Your Government (KYG) Conference is held each year during Presidents Day weekend. This year’s KYG conference theme was “Oh! The places you’ll go”. The KYG mission is to empower youth to be well-informed, actively engaged citizens in both their communities and state.


Students met with Legislators and participated in a legislative workshop, learning about the state government decision-making process by participating in mock committee meetings and a legislative floor session. The 4-H participants also toured the Supreme Court building where they met with judges and attorneys; they also visited the Ada County Courthouse where they received hands-on experience in Idaho’s judicial system with the opportunity to participate in mock trials.

Idaho State Grange Day at the Capitol

Grange Day

The Idaho State Grange met at the Capitol rotunda this week to speak with Legislators on issues important to the agricultural industry and its communities. The National Grange was founded in 1867 as a grassroots organization aimed to strengthen individuals, families, and communities through action, service, education, advocacy and agriculture.  


Each year the Idaho State Grange members come to the Capitol to inform Legislators of their legislative agenda. This year legislative priorities include the protection of water rights for agriculture, updating immigration laws to address agricultural needs for temporary workers, defending the First Amendment, and broadband technology access that will create opportunities for telehealth and distance education in Idaho. Click here for more information.