by Glenn Mosley
Idaho Public Radio
Idaho District 5 lawmakers met with constituents at a forum hosted by the League of Women Voters of Moscow on April 23 to recap the 2019 legislative session.
“We are so thankful to be back,” State Rep. Caroline Nilsson Troy (R-Genesee) said. “We got through the third longest session in Idaho history in 95 days. And I would say for about the last twenty of them, there was a growing dislike between the House and the Senate that was reflected in some of the last pieces of legislation that came through.
“I think it shows that you can overcook yourselves while you’re down there,” Troy said.
Highlights for Rep. Troy included a concurrent resolution that passed both chambers asking the Idaho congressional delegation to support efforts to designate 611 as the national suicide prevention hotline, as well as efforts to ensure that veterans get appropriate counseling when they reach out.
Idaho Sen. David Nelson (D-Moscow) and Rep. Bill Goesling (R-Moscow) also attended the forum, and pointed to issues including Medicaid expansion, increased funding for literacy, increased funding for starting teacher pay, and increased school safety laws as some of the highlights of the session.
“Medicaid expansion was funded and passed and is the law of the land now,” Sen. Nelson said. “It’s got a few dents on it that we probably don’t like, but I think the positive thing is that it’s there, it’s funded, folks are going to start getting their services.”
Nelson expects another fight next session over Medicaid expansion.
Rep. Goesling said he got to work right after being elected.
“Really, my session began right after the election,” Rep. Goesling said. “I met with Greg Bailey, the superintendent, I met with the police chief, I met with the sheriff, and found out what we could do to improve school safety.
“So the first bill that I was able to run was the school violence bill,” Goesling said. Law enforcement officers now have more options and flexibility to make arrests for threats made against schools.
Goesling said one of the issues he’s working on for next session is retention of teachers in the state.
Questions from the audience included inquiries on taxes, including the grocery tax and tax exemptions, as well as questions about the debate over Medicaid expansion and the hemp bill filed by Rep. Troy that failed this session.
The lawmakers also said they appreciated efforts by Governor Brad Little to include them in bill signing ceremonies.
“I have to say this governor has been really great about making these celebrations possible,” Troy said.
Troy also praised Governor Little’s efforts behind the scenes to help move the literacy funding and starting teacher pay, talking with individual lawmakers.
In the months before the start of the 2020 legislative session, interim committees of the Idaho State Legislature will look at issues including capitol services, child protection, federalism, criminal justice reinvestment, natural resources, Indian Affairs, legislative compensation, and occupational licensing and certification.
Idaho Governor Brad Little has announced that his office is looking at the state’s administrative rules, which the legislature did not act on before adjourning.
Posted April 24, 2019.