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"In the face of adversity, be grateful, for such opportunities do not come by often." Buddha

Greetings Friends!

Much appreciation to D19 constituents, friends, and neighbors who attended our Town Hall at Hidden Springs last week. Thanks for your questions, comments, and sharing your concerns. Having the opportunity to communicate in person is invaluable.

The pace steadily increased last week in the Legislature as we are rapidly approaching the last day legislation can be introduced through a non-privileged committee. As of Monday, February 22, new bills can only be introduced via privileged committees. Here is a look at just a few particularly notable bills currently under consideration.

 

Push to Lower Registration Fee for Hybrid Vehicles

Good news! The Senate Transportation Committee voted unanimously to approve a bill that rescinds the higher $75 dollar registration fee that was placed on hybrid vehicles last session. The higher fee was implemented based on the fact that hybrid vehicles use significantly less gas and because the state felt obliged to compensate for lost fuel tax revenue from owners of those vehicles. The fuel tax funds maintenance and repair of highways and bridges across the state. However, now that many gas-powered cars earn gas-efficiency ratings similar to those of their hybrid counterparts, that increased fee is no longer workable or equitable.

I'm pleased that the transportation committee, on which I serve, took the appropriate action to support Senator Shawn Keough's legislation to correct last session's misstep. I have been deluged with emails, phone calls, and letters calling for removal of the fee as a means to ensure equity and support environmental stewardship from across the state. Rescinding the fee is the right thing to do. The legislation has been sent to the Senate.

Two New Bill Target Women's Rights

The first bills targeting women's rights were introduced last week. The first, The Idaho Unborn Dignity Act, would ban the donation of fetal tissue following an abortion, either for organ donations or medical research. It is truly disappointing that anti-choice legislators are willing to compromise the studies into Down's syndrome, autism, and schizophrenia, due to their opposition to abortion. Academic researchers and institutions all over the country have expressed opposition to this kind of ban. It is my hope that legislators will be responsive to information shared by experts when making their voting decisions. Banning fetal tissue donation impacts everyone who depends on life-saving findings that come out of fetal tissue research.

The second bill proposed would require women seeking abortions to be provided with a state-compiled list of providers who could provide them with free ultrasounds, and informs them that they have a right to hear a fetal heartbeat via monitor prior to having a termination. This legislation is unnecessary and redundant as an ultrasound is already part of the abortion process.

Voter Registration Bill

More good news: The Online Voting Registration Act is moving forward through the legislature. The purpose of this bill is to create a safe, secure, and efficient system for online voter registration. This legislation will have many positive effects including increasing the number of registered voters and voter participation in elections, reducing county election costs, increasing the completeness and accuracy of voter rolls, and protecting against voter fraud. I believe this bill will surely have a positive benefit on our democratic process in Idaho, and I am looking forward to seeing its passage.

Women's History Month

Velma V. Morrison

I am excited to report that a resolution that I am sponsoring honoring Women's History Month will receive its first hearing this Monday, February 22nd, in front of the Senate State Affairs Committee. Honoring the courage and sacrifice of all Idaho women, the bill is set to coincide with a month-long women's history exhibition hosted at the State Capitol. Organized in collaboration with the Idaho Historical Society and the Dept. of Administration, the exhibition will include numerous artifacts from Idaho women, including a hard hat and ax belonging to an Idaho, "Rosie the Riveter", and a portrait of the first women to serve in the Idaho State Legislature and more. Stay tuned regarding the progress of this resolution, and be sure to watch for the accompanying exhibition in March!

BSU School of Public Service Releases Idaho Survey Results

Ending a five-year hiatus, we recently received the results of a compiled public policy survey from the Department of Public Policy and Administration at Boise State University. The survey findings were provided to legislators prior to public distribution. Topics covered include education, the environment, immigration, transportation and more. This survey is an informative and valuable resource. Take a look here!

Upcoming Townhall Forums

You are cordially invited to meet with my District 19 colleagues, Representatives Mat Erpelding and Melissa Wintrow and me for our next town hall meeting. We will be taking your questions and sharing our perspectives on the issues confronting the State Legislature. I would love to welcome you to the conversation. I hope you will join us:

March 2, 2016 - Quail Hollow Golf Course Club House

4520 36th St, Boise, ID 83703

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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Cherie Buckner-Webb
Senate D-19 Campaign
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Boise, ID 83707

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