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Freedom lies in being bold.
-Robert Frost

North Junior High School
On Thursday I had the privilege of meeting with a group of students during an event at North Junior High School titled "Conflict and Union: An Empowerment Talk," which centered on concerns raised by young people about student empowerment, gun regulation, and state and federal authority. We had an important discussion about a number of questions the students had prepared. "How can students safely participate in the nationwide walk-out?" "What do you believe is the most efficient method to ensure that guns don't end up in the wrong hands?" "How can I get more involved politically in my community?" These are just a few of the questions these engaged young people asked. They expressed their anger about the inability of adults to act in order to keep them safe.

Living Organ Donor Update
The living organ donor bill, which prohibits discrimination against living organ donors in life insurance, disability insurance, or long-term care insurance policies, was approved by the House Business Committee this week. It will now be sent before the full House.

Mandatory Minimums
A bipartisan bill sponsored by Rep. Ilana Rubel, D-18, and Rep. Christy Perry, R-11, to allow judges to diverge from mandatory minimum sentences for drug possession in some instances passed the House Judiciary, Rules, and Administration Committee after an hours-long hearing this week. Under current law, Idaho's drug trafficking statute sets mandatory minimum sentences based on the type and amount of drugs which the defendant possessed, even if the individual is not a dealer. These sentences must stand, even if the judge is of the opinion that a shorter sentence or probation would be more appropriate.

This legislation, HB 581, gives judges more discretion when determining sentences, allowing them to deviate from the mandatory minimums if following them would be unnecessary and unjust. This approach is more fair and compassionate, and it also makes fiscal sense. Our prisons are overburdened; we are currently facing the prospect of having to send 150 inmates out-of-state at a cost of over $3.5 million due to lack of space. Changing mandatory sentencing would help to alleviate the pressure on our prison system, while simultaneously allowing judges greater autonomy in determining the proper sentence in each individual case. The bill now goes before the full House.

Private School Scholarship Fund
HB 590, a bill which would create a scholarship funded by donations and administered by the Idaho State Board of Education, specifically for certain private school students, narrowly passed the House this week on a vote of 39-31. This bill is nothing less than a step towards private school vouchers. Unlike public schools, private schools do not have to provide federally mandated services special needs and at-risk students so desperately require. Our legislative responsibility is to provide adequate funding for a quality education for our children in Idaho's public schools. We should not be passing legislation that provides funds for private schools. This bill is opposed by all major education stakeholders, including state Superintendent Sherri Ybarra, the state Board of Education, the Idaho Education Association, the Idaho Association of School Administrators, the PTA, and the Idaho School Boards Association.

Domestic and Sexual Violence
I was disappointed to see the defeat of HB 585, which would have prohibited individuals convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence offenses from firearm possession for 2 years. This failure could have tragic implications for victims of domestic abuse; as this Magic Valley Times-News editorial notes, the likelihood of homicide in domestic violence situations is five times greater if a gun is present. This bill could have saved lives.

The good news is that HB 429, which seeks to treat victims of sexual assault more fairly, passed the Senate this week. Currently, victims are billed for the collection of evidence as if it were a medical procedure. This bill requires that the collection of this this evidence be paid for through the Crime Victims Compensation Fund.

Foster Care Bill
SB 1341, the Foster Care Improvement Act, passed the Senate this week. The bill is the outcome of the work of the Interim Foster Care Committee and data gathered by the Office of Performance Evaluations. It implements policies to keep siblings in foster care together, strengthens support services for newly reunified families, and establishes a system of Citizen Review Panels for increased accountability. I strongly support this legislation.

Civil Immunity
The Senate passed SB 1245, which provides civil and criminal immunity for persons who render aid to someone locked in a hot car. Sadly, a similar bill that applied to the rescue of pets failed on the floor by one vote.

HB 577, the bill legalizing the use of cannabidiol (CBD) oil under the supervision of a licensed practitioner, is now in the Senate Health and Welfare Committee. The chairman has not granted the bill a hearing, and seems unlikely to do so. You can read more about the happenings in that committee in relation to this bill here. It is my great hope that the chairman will change his mind and give the bill a hearing, for the benefit of the families and children who are suffering and could be helped by CBD oil.

Read Across America
I received the invitation to participate in the annual Read Across America event last Friday in District 19 at Lowell Elementary School. Read Across America is a nationwide event organized by the National Education Association (NEA), and celebrated on the birthday of children's author Dr. Seuss, to motivate children to read. I was delighted to read to six classes as part of this event. I greatly enjoyed my time with the following classes:

Kindergarten: Jenna Kyzer
1st grade: Dana Gillette & Alisa Williams
2nd grade: Tallie Mortenson & Katie Barry
4th grade: Jany Echelberger & Becky Carson
Special Education: Jacque Hagerty & Stacie Ward

Special thanks to Stacie Ward for coordination of the event. The kids were so much fun - I had a ball!

2018 Candidacy
I am pleased to announce that I filed my paperwork this week to run for this seat again in the upcoming elections. It will be my great honor to continue to serve the people of Idaho and district 19 if I am re-elected.

Here to Serve You
My goal is to address the immediate needs of District 19 while working strategically toward long term solutions. 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.

You can reach me at (208) 332-1339 or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


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Cherie Buckner-Webb
Senate D-19 Campaign
P.O. Box 9813
Boise, ID 83707

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