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In Honor of Black History Month

"If there is no struggle, there is no progress." - Frederick Douglas

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

First Responders Bill Passes in the Senate
The Senate passed SB1028, 31-4 which gives First Responders compensation for psychological treatment. Currently, police, firefighters, paramedics and other first responders are only eligible for workers' compensation for psychological treatment if the injury is accompanied by a physical injury. First Responders who are in need of counseling for post-traumatic stress disorder are often required to use their vacation time and/or personally pay for their therapy. In the debate, situations like the stabbing of nine at a Boise apartment complex were brought up as an example of the horrendous situations First Responders face, and the importance of this legislation. It will now move forward for a hearing in House committee.

Abraham Lincoln Program
On Tuesday, the legislature celebrated Lincoln Day by commemorating his life through beautiful musical presentations by Faith Sterling, Lydia Estes, Jonathon Estes, Bethany Estes, Heather Estes, and Bethany Sondergaard and addresses by Senators Woodward and Bayer.

Gerrymandering Sent back to Committee
After last week's sudden push to change the Independent Redistricting Commission's composition from six to 7 members which would render the group partisan. The House pushed back. The bill was sent back to committee for another hearing. The commission is currently evenly split between the two parties. This commission is charged with redrawing legislative and congressional district lines to reflect population changes based on Census data collected every 10 years.It is critical that the commission remains bipartisan. I continue to vehemently oppose the dismantling of the redistricting process currently in place.

Liquor License Reform
Legislation to update the current system for dispensing liquor licenses is also drawing much attention this session. The bill, sponsored by Sen. Rice (R-Caldwell), removes the current quota system for issuing licenses based on population and gives the control to cities and counties.The current system either forces entrepreneurs to wait years for a $750 state-issued liquor license or spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to buy a license on the secondary market. The new law would not account for the life savings many have spent on liquor licenses to date and would likely put some out of business. On a 6-2 vote, the Senate State Affairs Committee decided to keep the bill in Committee. However it is headed back to Committee on Wednesday with possible amendments.

Medicaid Expansion Sidebars
The first legislation related to Medicaid sidebars appeared in the Senate Health and Welfare Committee this week. The committee voted 5-4 to sent the bill to print. The bill brought forward by Sen. Souza (R-Coeur D'Alene) authorizes: optional workforce development training programs for those enrolled in the medicaid expansion, orders the state Department of Health and Welfare to apply for a federal waiver to serve those who earn between 100 percent and 133 percent of the federal poverty level through the state insurance exchange (rather than through medicaid expansion), orders Health and Welfare to explore other waiver to enable cost-efficient use of medicaid funds to pay for substance abuse and mental health services in institutions for mental disease, requires both Senate and House Health and Welfare committees to review medicaid expansion no later than Jan. 31, 2023, and recommends the legislature as to whether such expansion should remain in effect if the federal government lowers its matching funding rate below 90 percent. The bill also includes an emergency clause, which will make it effective immediately upon passage.

Protem Hill Gov. Little, Sen. Buckner-Webb, Rep. Blanksma, Sen. Stennett

Women in Leadership
I had the honor to participate on two panels this week: the first, for Idaho Women In Leadership and the second, Women in Politics Event sponsored by the Boise State University Political Science Association. The WIL Panel was convened to offering support and encouragement to women interested in public service. The Boise State Panel was focused on bring attention to the unique contribution women bring to politics and public service.

Gov. Little Supports Electric Vehicles
On February 14th, Governor Little signed a proclamation designating it as Electric Vehicle Day. The proclamation recognizes how these vehicles improve the economy, provide high-paying jobs, protect the community's health, and promote clean energy sources. Gov. Little's proclamation was followed by a presentation on Electric Vehicles and a vehicle was even displayed on the Capitol Steps.

Eviction Process Legislation
In an effort to update and improve the process for eviction for both renters and landlords, the Idaho Apartment Association brought legislation forward to the House Judiciary Committee. The legislation combines the eviction process into a single court filing and allows evictions to be completed within a month or less. The bill is seen as being helpful to landlords that carry the burden of the process. However, it is concerning for low-income individuals that will carry extra pressure for moving belongings, paying court fees, and trying to relocate quickly. Alternatively, the bill allows tenants the ability to sue their landlords for incomplete property repairs or terminate their leases without penalty. The legislation will be printed in the next week and heard in the House Judiciary Committee next Thursday.

Farewell to Senate Pages
During the first six weeks of the session, we have had wonderful Pages who demonstrated hard work and dedication. They have phenomenal skills and abilities, as well as bright futures ahead of them. I wish them every success as they finish high school. Farewell and welcome to our new pages!

If you know someone that would be interested in acting as a Page at the Capitol, here is more information along with the application. I would strongly encourage anyone who is interested to apply.

News You Can Use:
Taxpayers can get free help filing their taxes
The free help is available to senior citizens and people with low and moderate incomes. It's meant for taxpayers with simple federal and Idaho tax returns. That includes taxpayers submitting a state return only to get a grocery credit refund and those filing a federal return only to claim the Earned Income Tax Credit. People who have complicated returns should get help from a professional preparer. All sites offer electronic filing for faster refunds. Some offer help in Spanish. The Tax Commission recommends that you check the site information on the day you want to visit as times and dates can change. To find a site near you, you can follow this link.

Frank Church Gala Event on March 16 at 5:30 pm
The Frank & Bethine Church Gala is the signature event for the Idaho Democratic Party. Now entering its 25th year, the Gala attracts hundreds of Democrats from every corner of the state. The Gala is the capstone to a day filled with trainings and workshops for Idaho Democrats and is a memorable evening for all who participate. If you are interested in attending, tickets can be found here.

District 19 Forums
Your District 19 Representatives are hosting forums throughout February in order to hear from you. These will be held on the following Tuesdays. We would love for you to attend!

  • February 19, 2019, at Shadow Hills Elementary School (6:00 pm)
  • February 26, 2019, at Idaho State Capitol in room EW42 (5:30 pm)

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