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Constitutional Convention Bill

A piece of legislation (SB 1350) that would have set ground rules for state delegates at a Constitutional Convention was defeated by the Senate this week. According to Article V of the United States Constitution, a Constitutional Convention is a meeting that is called by the U.S. Congress, joining delegates from each state to deal with specific constitutional issues. In accordance with law, two-thirds of the states must agree to hold one before Congress can call the meeting. Not addressed in the bill, however, are the inherent dangers of such a convention, including a weak vetting process that could easily lead to extremist revisions of the constitution, benefitting only special interest groups. Notably, the country has not seen a Constitutional Convention in over 200 years. To my way of thinking, this is certainly no time to start.

 

Protection Orders

SB 1373, an anti-stalking bill, passed the Senate on Thursday. The bill extends current protection orders to all victims of stalking, regardless of their relationship to the stalker. This has the potential to be a life saving change, in that currently an order can only be granted to stalking victims who can attest to a qualifying relationship to the stalker, such as domestic or romantic involvement. This is much-needed legislation. The bill is now headed to the House.

CAT Fund

Senator Dan Schmidt, a tireless advocate for the Healthy Idaho Plan stepped down from the Catastrophic Healthcare Fund board. While serving on the board, he personally reviewed hundreds of applications from citizens requiring assistance with major medical bills. His service on the board acutely confirmed that a majority of the costs could have been prevented or reduced by increased access to affordable health care coverage. As the leading sponsor of the Healthy Idaho plan (SB 1205), which would provide coverage to nearly 78,000 Idahoans who cannot afford it, Senator Schmidt remains a powerful voice on behalf of all working Idahoans. I stand with him in calling for a vote on the Healthy Idaho plan, and continue fervently support the passage of this legislation this session.

Cap on Homeowners Tax Exemptions

HB 431 has now passed both houses of the Idaho Legislature. HB 431 is a bill that removes indexing from the personal property exemption, and instead caps it at either $100,000 or 50% of assessed property value, whichever is less. The problem with this bill is one of equity, particularly between residential owners and those with second homes and business property. Basically, as housing values rise over time, residential owners stand to receive a larger share of the tax burden, while businesses and those with higher end properties stand to save money. The property tax exemption was indexed to protect hard-working citizens from being penalized with large tax shifts due to rapid changes in property values, and ensure stability to all taxpayers. I believe passage of this bill will prove to be problematic. I voted in opposition to the bill. It now heads to the Governor's desk for action.

Firefighters Bill Moving Forward

HB 554 passed the House by a vote of 63-3 in Friday. The legislation would change Idaho worker's compensation law to presume that certain cancers, within certain time periods are job related for firefighters. It includes exceptions for smokers and those who live with smokers. The bill also included a five-year sunset clause, allowing the legislature to assess its results. Iterations of this bill have been under consideration for 16 years, and this is important legislation which I heartily support. I am eager to vote for approval on the Senate floor.

Getting Ready to Run

It's official! I am running for re-election to the Idaho Senate. My D-19 colleagues Representatives Mat Erpelding, Melissa Wintrow and I joined together to file our paper work on Idaho Day. It has been and continues to be my great privilege and honor to serve as your Senator. I look forward to representing you in the future with ever- increasing zeal, commitment, and enthusiasm. District 19 is one of the most vibrant, progressive, diverse, and enaged in the state of Idaho, and I am proud to say, my home for most of my life. I am proud to call you my neighbors and friends and I cherish our relationship. I look forward to connecting soon.

Good Friday Adjournment Targeted

Majority leadership in both the Senate and House have announced the target for adjournment is Good Friday, March 25th. With that in mind, we are in the final weeks of the 2016 Legislative Session. I am, however, concerned that a number of critical issues have yet to be addressed: Healthy Idaho, raising the minimum wage, fully-funding our schools, and more. I remain hopeful that we will take care of the people's business before the close of the session. It is our responsibility to address the needs of working families in Idaho.

Upcoming Townhall Forum

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 16, 2016 at 7 PM

Shadow Hills Elementary Gym

8301 W Sloan St, Garden City, 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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Cherie Buckner-Webb
Senate D-19 Campaign
P.O. Box 9813
Boise, ID 83707

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