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In Honor of Black History Month

"When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time."
- Maya Angelou, American poet, singer, memoirist, and civil rights activist

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

Teachers Salaries
In his State of the State Address, Gov. Brad Little proposed to increase starting teacher salaries to a minimum of $40,000. This week he indicated a modification. The change is the result of concern about state tax revenues coming in lower than projected due to income tax withholding issues. The revised numbers call new teacher minimum salaries to be increased to $38,500 next year, and $40,000 the following year. This change would add $3.8 million to next year's budget for the salary boost in comparison to the previous $11.2 million. The following year would be an additional $7.7 million.

Marsy's Law Passes in the Senate
On Monday, Marsy's Law passed on the Senate floor with a 25-9 vote. I am so glad that the effort to provide rights to victims has been upheld and passed in the Senate. The bill addresses areas of concern that have surfaced in other states and provides more effective mechanisms for upholding victims' rights and affording them a voice. Marsy's Law seeks to improve the experience of victims, putting their rights on equal footing with the rights of the accused and convicted. Key components include notification of offender release, reasonable protection, and equity. Next, the bill must pass a House committee and the House with a two-thirds majority.

Ban on Cell Phone Use Failed in the Senate
Legislation concerning the use of handheld cell phones while driving came to the Senate floor this week. The bill would have made it illegal for a driver to use mobile devices while driving. The intention of the bill was accident prevention. Any distracted driving including texting, looking at social media, or surfing the internet would have resulted in a fine. On Tuesday, this piece of legislation was voted down on the Senate Floor.

Proclamation Commemorates Japanese American Internment at Minidoka
The Japanese American Citizen League honored thousands of Japanese Americans who were imprisoned at the Minidoka Relocation Center during World War II. This year marked the 18th-anniversary celebration. Gov. Brad Little presented a proclamation and Sadami Tanabe, was present for the reading. Tanabe lived in the camp during the 1940s after being relocated with his parents and three siblings from Oregon when the federal government started an initiative to remove people of Japanese ancestry from the West Coast.

Budget/ Education Budget Info
This week, our Legislature unanimously voted to set a $1.9 billion public school budget for next year. This reflects a 6.1 percent increase from last year. This is well below Superintendent Ybarra's request and slightly below Gov. Little's proposed 6.14 percent increase. Yet, the budget set by the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee (JFAC) still includes key items both wanted, including doubling funding for early literacy in kindergarten through third grade, as Little requested; and $14.6 million for a 3.4 percent increase in discretionary funds to school districts, to cover both health insurance costs increases and general inflation, as Ybarra requested. The budget still needs passage in both the House and Senate and needs the governor's signature to become law, but budget bills rarely change once they have been set by JFAC.

Gov. Little: The Legislature Must Fund Medicaid
Gov. Little announced that he would not let the Legislature adjourn without funding Medicaid Expansion, as required by voter-approved Proposition 2. The Governor recognizes that various bills are being introduced to both the House and Senate with various stipulations, and said this would need to be a collaborative effort. He also stated that there were a few sideboards to Medicaid Expansion that he would not support, although didn't share which ones they were. It is critical the Legislature works collaboratively to fund Medicaid Expansion as the voters intended.

Genital Mutilation Bill Passes in the House
A bill to ban female genital mutilation of children in Idaho passed the House Tuesday on a 69-0 vote. The bill would make female genital mutilation a felony punishable with up to life in prison. It also changes the statute of limitations to three years after the genital mutilation is reported. Female genital mutilation, as defined by the World Health Organization, comprises of "all procedures that involve partial or total removal of the external female genitalia, or other injuries to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons."More than 50 countries and 27 U.S. states ban the practice, PBS News Hour reported in December.

News You Can Use:

Next District 19 Forum
February 26, 2019, at the Idaho State Capitol in room EW42 (5:30 pm)

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. 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 of 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.

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