I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it.
After hearing hours of testimony regarding striking five paragraphs on climate change from Idaho's Science Standards, the Senate Education Committee postponed the vote last Friday. Chairman Mortimer did so in order to confer and negotiate with the House. The House Education Committee elected to stand firm in their rejection of the five paragraphs. Senator Ward-Engelking and I cast the only votes against removing climate change from the standards. The new standards will be in place until next session when they will be up as a pending rule.
Constitutional Convention- SCR 108
The Senate debated and ultimately defeated an Article V Convention of States resolution proposing a Balanced Budget Amendment on Wednesday by a 24-11
vote. Many Idahoans came out to the Capitol to watch the proceedings take place first hand. The scope of a Constitutional Convention cannot be limited to only a Balanced Budget Amendment once convened. In such a tumultuous political climate, it is deemed unwise and possibly dangerous to open up the Constitution to editing a multitude of progressive and conservative issues alike. In order for a Constitutional Convention to take place, two-thirds of states must pass an Article V Convention. I voted in opposition to the resolution.
Legislation was introduced to the Senate State Affairs committee this week that would require the state to distribute information about an "abortion reversal" method. Proponents contend that a medication would halt a drug-induced abortion half way through the process. Sponsors of the bill claim the goal of the bill is to inform women of options available to them, should they reconsider their decision to have an abortion after starting the process. Physicians warn that there is virtually no scientific evidence to support claims that it is possible to successfully stop an abortion after process has begun. It is critical that Idahoans get accurate information for the best health care possible.
Early Voting - HB 150
The House passed an early voting bill aimed to hamstring counties who are trying to increase voter participation by limiting early voting to as little as one week prior to the election. Currently, early voting in is left up to the counties to determine timetables to meet the needs of their constituents. Idaho has diverse landscapes and hard-working citizens with busy schedules. Early voting helps reduce low voter turnout by make voting more accessible. The bill passed its third reading in the House and was referred to the Senate State Affairs Committee. Disguising voter suppression as "consistency across the state" is not in the best interest of Idahoans and I will not support this legislation.
Cecilia Violetta Lopez - SCR 111
I am pleased to have sponsored a concurrent resolution honoring Idaho's own, Cecilia Violetta Lopez, a renowned Soprano who has been named one of opera's "25 Rising Stars" by Opera News. Born in Rupert, Idaho, Ms. Lopez is first generation Mexican-American who developed a love for music singing with her mother while she worked in the fields in Rupert, Idaho. She has gone on to achieve international acclaim. She is an Idaho treasure. Look for her Idaho performances during the 2017-2018 season with the Boise Philharmonic.
Read Across America
I had the great joy to participate in Read Across America on Thursday! I thoroughly enjoyed reading "The Cat in the Hat" to the kindergarten classes of Camille Anitok and Rosanne Bolen at Horizon Elementary School. The students were energetic,engaged and enthusiastic and are a tribute to their teachers who inspire, support, and educate in an environment that is conducive to learning. My hat is off to their dedicated teachers. I thank Ms. Anitok and Ms. Bolen sincerely, for answering the call to change the world by teaching our children to learn and thank you to Principal Steve Novotny for the warm welcome.
Here to Serve You
My goal is to address the immediate needs of District 19 while working strategically toward long term goals. It is my honor to serve you in the Idaho State Senate. Know that your letters, emails, texts, and calls are invaluable. I appreciate hearing what is most important to you and your family.