Senator Jim Patrick - District 25

Having trouble viewing this email? View it as a Web page.

Idaho State Legislture

March 23, 2020

Senator Jim Patrick - District 25 Newsletter

Jim Patrick

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

Commerce & Human Resources – Chair
Agricultural Affairs
Resources & Environment


Dear Neighbors:


The Corona virus scare is shutting down large meetings, which will probably shorten our Legislative Session. This pandemic will, at the very least, have a large impact on commerce and state revenues. We do have a plan to deal with the monetary issues, but if the situation gets much worse, it may cause holdbacks for some agencies. We have been very conservative with our budgets, but not knowing the total effect on people’s lives and income to the state is very difficult. We are doing everything possible to protect lives. 


Twin Falls boys and girls win again. Idaho Legislators gathered to celebrate the Boys and Girls Club of Idaho’s Youth of the Year award. Five Idaho youth were selected to receive scholarships and were nominated to compete for the title of Idaho Youth of the Year. Nominees were Logan Fossler, Naomi Fraley, Steve Biondolillo, Sariah Standlee, and Davin White. They each gave speeches, sharing their powerful life experiences and demonstrating how they have become positive role models and incredible young people.


I have made a recommendation to the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee (JFAC) for employee change of compensation. This recommendation for state employees affects 25,000 people. The Change in Compensation Committee (CECC) recommended a 3 percent structure adjustment. This will help with compression of salaries that have the top-grade level. As we bring the bottom up, the top will also benefit in the recommendation. This will cost $285,000 statewide. 


We also recommended a 2 percent increase based on performance. We identified 20 job classifications that have large turnover and hard-to-fill positions. This recommendation adds 2 percent with a General Fund cost of $741,000 and $1,453,000 from dedicated funds. The employee benefit package with health insurance and retirement benefits is staying basically the same. I believe I should mention the cost for employees for health insurance has stayed basically the same because we have built the reserve fund beyond the necessary needs due to lower claims. Our workforce is staying healthy.


Idaho has a rich heritage in farming and our farms continue to produce a wide variety of crops that fuel Idaho’s economy. As the fifth largest agricultural economy in the United States, based on farm gross domestic product (GDP) as a percent of the state’s total GDP, Idaho’s farm-produced GDP growth rate percentage has outpaced Idaho’s own GDP growth rate percentage. That shows that agriculture continues to be an important driver in Idaho’s economic health. Idaho’s cash receipts in 2019 topped $8.3 billion and were predominately from milk, cattle, potatoes, hay, grain, barley, and sugar. Idaho’s agriculture cash receipts continue to outpace U.S. averages and Idaho farm incomes reached a record high last year. Idaho exports around $848 million of agricultural products each year.


I was honored in January to be named an Ag All Star by the Food Producers of Idaho. I plan to continue working hard for Idaho farmers, who are doing an excellent job for our state. Idaho is now the fifth largest agricultural economy in the U.S., with cattle and milk alone accounting for 54 percent of our revenue.  Even better, this growth is coming from increased production instead of price hikes, and it is being done with very little government subsidy. Idaho is also on the right track with our gun rights, with recent research confirming Idaho as the second most gun-friendly state in the union. 


I am also quite grateful to be reappointed to the advisory committee for the Food Quality Assurance Laboratory. I am sure I will be quite busy as I have been on all my other committees. I have had discussions over Idaho Preferred, veterinary medicine, and rules for the Department of Finance and Department of Insurance. Building safety is another issue I have had the opportunity to examine, especially regarding problems with electrical codes and the number of apprentices with journeymen.


Idaho Legislators joined Governor Brad Little last week in signing the first two executive orders of the year, aiming to keep Idaho regulations to a minimum and easy enough for Idahoans to understand. These two executive orders build on Idaho’s achievements last year when the state reduced and simplified 75 percent of its red tape, becoming the least-regulated state in the nation. President Pro Tempore Hill of the Idaho State Senate stated, “we cleaned out the mess. Let us keep this clean so in another 20 years the new governor will not need to do what has already been done.” The House Speaker Bedke added, “we are committed to working with the Governor to reduce regulation. We want to make Idaho as user-friendly as we can, and that is what good government is all about.”


Executive Order 2020-01: Zero-Based Regulation requires state agencies to justify every regulation it wants to keep.  In order to stay on course, state agencies will review every rule chapter in effect on a staggered, five-year schedule – accounts to 20 percent of all rule chapters every year. The objective is to prevent ineffective and outdated regulations that accumulate over time.


Executive Order 2020-02: Transparency in Agency Guidance Documents provides a point of contact, giving the public direct access to ask questions and give input on existing statutes or regulations. This executive order also requires every active agency guidance document be posted on the agency’s website, providing a user-friendly approach for the public to access. In addition, agencies will submit a report every year to the Division of Financial Management, detailing which final orders and agency guidance are used and their purposes.


In March, I presented a memorial for John Rosholt alongside his family and friends in the Senate Gallery.  As anyone who knew John is intimately aware, he was quick-witted and connected to people easily. He was always interested in the lives of his clients and that helped him become one of the best and first water attorneys in Idaho. After attending the University of Idaho College of Law, John continued his strong support for the university. He lived for his family, career, golf, and the University of Idaho.


It has been quite a busy session. I appreciate your attention to this message. I want to stay connected with you and I value your thoughts, opinions, and questions. Please do not hesitate to reach out to me via email at and phone at 208 332-1318 or 208 733-6897.



Jim Patrick