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"Let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream."
-Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Letter from the Birmingham Jail

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

It is an honor to serve you as the senator for District 19. House Minority Leader Mat Erpelding, Rep. Melissa Wintrow, and I continue to work diligently to represent the diverse interests and needs of our district. It's gratifying to hear from, and collaborate with, engaged citizens during town halls, through email, phone calls, and events around the state.

Health Care
I was proud to sponsor the Living Organ Donor Act (SB 1302). The legislation protects living organ donors from discrimination in obtaining life, long term care, and/or disability insurance post-donation. Upon the passage of SB 1302, Idaho became the first state in the nation to enact such legislation.

The D19 Team supported legislation that restored non-emergency dental benefits to Medicaid recipients, reversing the recession-era cuts to Medicaid. The 2011 cut was intended to last only one year. It has now been 7 years, and the loss of dental care has resulted in serious consequences to both health and pocketbook to those impacted, as well as taxpayers. Rep. Ilana Rubel, D-18, sponsored the legislation in the House, and Sen. Maryanne Jordan, D-17, carried it in the Senate. The passage of this will result in much needed access to dental care for approximately 30,000 Idahoans.

Education
After a protracted tug-of-war between the House and Senate Education Committees, the Senate committee ultimately prevailed and the updated school science standards were approved. This is great news for Idaho students and their education. Our kids deserve the most current and comprehensive education possible, especially about crucial issues related to human impact on the environment.

The Idaho Opportunity Scholarship bill, which increases the state's scholarship fund by $3.5 million, also passed both chambers. Up to 20 percent of the scholarship fund will be dedicated to "adult completers", providing many Idahoans the option to finish their education.

Taxes
The Legislature passed a tax bill this session, HB 463. Members of the Democratic caucus fought hard to defeat the bill because it negatively impacts hardworking Idaho families. This legislation will reduce revenue for schools, infrastructure and workforce development. Additionally, families with children will experience a tax increase. In the finals days of the session a trailer bill was passed which increased the child tax credit from $130 to $205. While this bill does mitigate the harmful effects of the tax bill for some, the credit would have needed to be $287 in order for all families to be spared a tax increase.

Justice
Sen. Buckner-Webb introduced Ban the Box legislation, crafted to remove barriers to employment for individuals with criminal convictions. I pulled the bill, however, to engage additional stakeholders. She will be working to update the legislation during the interim to bring back a bill that will provide individuals with criminal histories opportunity while simultaneously benefiting employers. The result will be a bill that is better, stronger, and thoroughly vetted.

Gerrymandering
Many have expressed concern about a piece of legislation which was proposed this session related to partisan gerrymandering. The proposal would undermine the state's current, bipartisan redistricting process that was approved by voters in 1994. That process is fair, transparent, allows for public input and scrutiny by the Idaho Supreme Court, and provides specific guidelines for the conduct of commissioners. The proposal "disappeared" by the end of the session. I'm sure it will be back next year. We will remain vigilant.

Boise High School Summit
I was pleased to have been selected by the Boise High School student body to serve as keynote speaker for their fifth annual Social Justice Summit last week. I had the honor to address the entire sophomore, junior, and senior classes on the theme "...and Justice For All." The engaged students developed, led, and participated in more than 70 workshops on a wide array of topics exploring every aspect of justice. Topics included "Mass Incarceration: Looking Beyond Paradigms", "Struggles of Undocumented Americans", "The Injustice of Animal Entertainment", "Disability and the Economy", and many more. I was inspired by their commitment, passion, and action. These young people will change the world.

The session was quite robust and much was accomplished. No legislative session is without challenges, however -- we were not successful in enacting legislation to cover 78,000 Idahoans in the health care gap. Be assured that my colleagues and I will continue to stand up for policies that strengthen our communities and improve the quality of life for all Idahoans. I look forward to hearing from you during the interim.

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.

Cherie

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

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Phone: 208-861-5482