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Greetings Friends!

We have certainly hit the ground running this year. Since the Governor's State of the State speech kicked off the Legislative Session, we have kept quite busy in Week 2, introducing and reviewing quite few pieces of legislation. This week, offers the latest update on our efforts to "Add the Words," highlights from the State of Judiciary Speech, and much, much more. Let's begin!

Amending the Human Rights Act to Include the Words Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity

I am pleased to announce that Senator Grant Burgoyne and I introduced legislation adding "Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity" to the Idaho Human Rights Act in the Senate this week. Introduced as a personal bill, it has strong support from Democrats in both of houses. I encourage you to follow the progress of SB 1196 via the Idaho Legislative website and through my Facebook and Twitter. I will be appearing alongside Sen. Grant Burgoyne on KTVB's Viewpoint segment this week to offer the latest details. We must continue to fight discrimination and bigotry wherever it exists. Idaho is indeed, too great for hate.

Senate Committee Votes to Print Legislation that Omits Fire Alarms in Some Schools

A particularly concerning piece of legislation gained traction this week, as the Senate Commerce and Human Resources Committee voted to print a bill that weakens the requirement that schools possess functioning fire alarms. While state law currently requires that schools with 30 or more students possess such an alarm, the legislation raises that requirement to 50 pupils. Advocates for the bill called the current standard, too expensive. I reject this argument in its entirety! No price is worth risking a student's life. if anything, we should strengthen, not weaken the requirement. Stay tuned.

Armed Forces and Public Safety Officer Dependent Scholarships

This week, the Senate Education Committee voted to print a piece of legislation that seeks to clarify questions regarding the administration and management of a fund that provides scholarships for the dependents of members of the armed forces and peace officers. In my experience, veterans with disabilities are often not aware of the benefits that are available to themselves and their families. This scholarship represents a valuable resource for many Idahoans, and I am pleased that we are taking the steps to not only strengthen it, but also ensure its continued existence.

Four Children Receiving Epilepsy Treatment

We received word from state heath officials this week that four children with severe forms of epilepsy are currently enrolled in a study involving an experimental nonpsychoactive drug derived from marijuana. This treatment was approved for trial use during the last legislative session. With four children now enrolled, 21 spots still remain available to children suffering from severe epilepsy. I look forward to hearing the results of their trial, and while I am thrilled that these children are getting the medicine they so desperately need, I am eager to see advancement in treatment to cover all Idaho children.

State of the Judiciary Address

This Wednesday, Chief Justice Jim Jones from Idaho's Supreme Court delivered the State of the Judiciary to the Senate. In his remarks, Chief Justice Jones praised the state appellate public defender system, addressed the ongoing conversion to an online case management system for the courts, and noted the remarkable success of Idaho's alcohol, drug, and mental health courts. Overall, I believe our court system remains remarkably strong. Click here for more details.

MLK Day at the Capitol

Hundreds of Idahoans joined in celebration of strength, courage, and renewal at the Capitol on Monday, January 18th for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr./Idaho Human Rights Day. Festivities included a rally on the Statehouse Steps, a performance by the Boise Gay Men's Chorus, and a keynote speech by Dr. Keith Anderson from Boise State University. I was honored to deliver closing remarks as part of the ceremony: "As we leave this place, the people's house, on this day of reflection and celebration, I urge you to move forward, powerfully and passionately - and to let courage be your guide."

Don't miss an opportunity to explore Dr. King's legacy on January 25th at 7PM for "The Fierce Urgency of NOW," a discussion panel taking place at Boise State University. I will join Bishop Dr. John R. Selders, Jr. and Ashley "Brown Blaze" Yates to discuss civil rights in American contemporary culture, and contemplate whether there is an urgency of "now" that is similar to early 1960s. Click here for more information.

Upcoming Townhall Forums

You are cordially invited to join me and my District 19 colleagues, Representatives Mat Erpelding and Melissa Wintrow for any or all of our town hall meetings during the session. We'll be taking your questions and sharing our take on the issues confronting the State Legislature. I encourage all to attend. The first two meetings will take place at 7PM at the following locations:

January 27 - Warm Springs Golf Course Clubhouse

2495 E Warm Springs Ave, Boise, ID 83712

February 17 - Hidden Springs Club House

5892 W Hidden Springs Dr, Boise, ID 83714

As always, it is both a pleasure and an honor to represent you in the Idaho State Senate. Let's stay connected.


Your Senator,

Cherie Buckner-Webb

District 19

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Senate D-19 Campaign
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Boise, ID 83707

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