Senator Nuxoll's weekly legislative report
The owners of the Mountain View Elk Ranch represented district 7 this week in the Senate Agriculture committee on a rule change allowing elk to be transported into Idaho from east of the 100th meridian. Scientists are arguing that the ill effects of meningeal worm could kill our wildlife populations. There are NO known cases of meningeal worm east of the 100th meridian mainly due to the climate effects on its lifecycle. Elk farms in Idaho have decreased from 100 to 20 in the last few years. They will continue to discuss the rule on Tuesday the 17th.
The Annexation bill, S1093, allows a vote by citizens on annexation in cities less than 8000. We do not have a date on the hearing yet.
HB 51, the dredge mining bill sponsored by Rep. Shepherd, emphasizes the rights of suction dredge mining under the 1872 Federal Mining Claims Act. With opposition from the AG’s office and Rep. Wood who remarked “We cannot set aside federal law...” in referencing EPA regulations, the bill is on the amending order in the House. It may never come out of the amending order.
Unfortunately, the Orofino Maniac license plate bill sponsored by Rep. Shepherd was heard right after the NRA license plate debate. I continue to support it but I am concerned about its passage.
In JFAC, we are starting to see costs of the Affordable Care Act in many different budgets. The ACA cannot use private attorneys but requires the use of government attorneys for Medicaid. The Controller’s office cost to comply with the ACA is $250,000. Taxes and fees for the ACA will be millions next year.
Health and Welfare: rules were submitted for Time Sensitive Emergency Systems for strokes, trauma, and heart attacks at a cost to the state of $225,000. I did not support this bill last year because it would create another unnecessary bureaucracy. Medical centers would have to pay from $3,000 to $45,000 to belong to this network. I voted against the rule because of the cost and even though it is voluntary to belong, it will force medical centers to belong or they will be bypassed.
All of our schools have been notified to apply for e-rate and look for replacements for the IEN in the next couple of months. Our rural schools need broadband service and this is a huge concern. However, if they cannot contract with a provider for internet services, the state will try to facilitate for smaller districts to join together for a package service. The governor and the administration need to be held accountable for this situation.
Legislation allowing Idahoans to carry a weapon concealed without a permit (known as Constitutional carry) was proposed before the House State Affairs Committee. The legislation was refused a hearing which keeps it from moving to the floor for a vote.
Representative Nate proposed S1085 which calls for the removal of required SBAC tests for graduation. A hearing date has not been set. Please make your opinion known to the Senate Education Committee.
The REAL ID is another hot issue in Idaho’s noncompliance with Federal requirements. Current Idaho code states Idaho will not implement the REAL ID Act of 2005. However, its enforcement phases are starting to affect Idahoans: January 19th most federal facilities such as the INL could not be accessed with an Idaho drivers license alone; October 10th military bases can’t allow access with only an Idaho drivers license; and in 2016 Idahoans can not board a commercial aircraft unless they have a second form of ID (such as a passport). Our legislature is seeking ways to get an extension or to find an alternative. If enforced, this could cost the state millions of dollars to implement.
Another issue is whether horseracing machines at Les Bois Park in Boise and in Coeur d’Alene meet the actual definition of pari-mutuel. There is legislation that would repeal pari-mutuel betting horseracing machines. Since the legislature authorized these machines in 2013, many think that they are in violation of Idaho’s Constitution. Those criticizing the machines feel that some claims were misrepresented to the Legislature in 2013, when they were originally authorized.
~ Senator Nuxoll